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Tuesday, October 17, 2023
Eight Hawaii Birds Declared Extinct
By News Release @ 1:24 AM :: 1747 Views :: Environment

Fish and Wildlife Service Delists 21 Species from the Endangered Species Act due to Extinction

Action signals a ‘wake-up call on the importance of conserving imperiled species before it’s too late’

News Release from USFWS, Oct 16, 2023

FALLS CHURCH, Va. —  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is delisting 21 species from the Endangered Species Act due to extinction. Based on rigorous reviews of the best available science for each of these species, the Service determined these species are extinct and should be removed from the list of species protected under the ESA. Most of these species were listed under the ESA in the 1970s and 80s and were in very low numbers or likely already extinct at the time of listing.

“Federal protection came too late to reverse these species’ decline, and it’s a wake-up call on the importance of conserving imperiled species before it’s too late,” said Service Director Martha Williams. “As we commemorate 50 years of the Endangered Species Act this year, we are reminded of the Act’s purpose to be a safety net that stops the journey toward extinction. The ultimate goal is to recover these species, so they no longer need the Act’s protection.”

In September 2021, the Service proposed delisting 23 species from the ESA due to extinction. Following public comment on the proposed rule, the Service is withdrawing the delisting proposal for one species — Phyllostegia glabra var. lanaiensis (a Hawaiian perennial herb in the mint family that has no common name) — due to new surveys identifying new, potentially suitable habitats for the species. Although the delisting proposal included the ivory-billed woodpecker, the Service will continue to analyze and review the information before deciding whether to delist the ivory-billed woodpecker.

The 21 species extinctions highlight the importance of the ESA and efforts to conserve species before declines become irreversible. The circumstances of each also underscore how human activity can drive species decline and extinction by contributing to habitat loss, overuse, and the introduction of invasive species and diseases.

Today’s announcement comes as the ESA turns 50 years old in 2023. Throughout the year, the Department of the Interior will celebrate the ESA's importance in preventing imperiled species’ extinction, promoting wildlife recovery, and conserving the habitats they depend on. The ESA has been highly effective and credited with saving 99% of listed species from extinction. Thus far, more than 100 species of plants and animals have been delisted based on recovery or reclassified from endangered to threatened based on improved conservation status, and hundreds more species are stable or improving thanks to the collaborative actions of Tribes, federal agencies, state and local governments, conservation organizations and private citizens.   

The final rule to delist 21 species from the ESA due to extinction will publish in the Federal Register on Oct. 17 and is effective 30 days after publication. More information on the final rule is available at by searching under the docket number identified in the table below.

Species being delisted due to extinction:

Species Name Found Listed Last Confirmed Sighting Docket Number
Little Mariana fruit bat GU (Guam) 1984 1968 FWS–R1–ES–2020–0104
Bachman’s warbler     FL, SC 1967 1980s FWS–R4–ES–2020–0110
Bridled white-eye      GU (Guam) 1984 1983 FWS–R1–ES–2020–0104
Kauai akialoa HI 1967 1960s FWS–R1–ES–2020–0104
Kauai nukupuu HI 1970 1899 FWS–R1–ES–2020–0104
Kauaʻi ʻōʻō HI 1967 1987 FWS–R1–ES–2020–0104
Large Kauai thrush HI 1970 1987 FWS–R1–ES–2020–0104
Maui ākepa HI 1970 1988 FWS–R1–ES–2020–0104
Maui nukupuʻu HI 1970 1996 FWS–R1–ES–2020–0104
Molokai creeper HI 1970 1963 FWS–R1–ES–2020–0104
Po`ouli HI 1975 2004 FWS–R1–ES–2020–0104
San Marcos gambusia TX 1980 1983 FWS–R2–ES–2020–0105
Scioto madtom OH 1975 1957 FWS–R3–ES–2020–0106
Flat pigtoe AL, MS 1987 1984 FWS–R4–ES–2020–0107
Southern acornshell AL, GA, TN 1993 1973 FWS–R4–ES–2020–0107
Stirrupshell AL, MS 1987 1986 FWS–R4–ES–2020–0107
Upland combshell AL, GA, TN 1993 mid-1980s FWS–R4–ES–2020–0107
Green-blossom pearly mussel TN, VA 1984 1982 FWS–R4–ES–2020–0108
Tubercled-blossom pearly AL, IL, IN, KY, TN, MI, OH, WV 1976 1969 FWS–R4–ES–2020–0108
Turgid-blossom pearly mussel AL, AR, TN 1976 1972 FWS–R4–ES–2020–0108
Yellow-blossom pearly mussel AL, TN 1985 1966 FWS–R4–ES–2020–0108


SA: Federal government lists 8 Hawaiian birds as extinct | Honolulu Star-Advertiser (

CN: Feds declare 21 species officially extinct | Courthouse News Service


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