The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has recommended removing 23 species from the Endangered Species Act (ESA), but not because they’re no longer endangered. The federal agency made their proposal because they, for the most part, no longer exist. According to the USFW, the ivory-billed woodpecker and 22 more birds, fish and other species are extinct, functionally extinct or in steep decline. Some of the species have already been declared extinct by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. Habitat loss, overuse, invasive species, disease and the growing impacts of climate change have all contributed to their decline. It’s been nearly 40 years since the ESA was passed. In that time, 54 species have been delisted because their populations have rebounded and 56 species have been downlisted from endangered to threatened. Scientists estimate that at least 227 species would’ve likely gone extinct if not for the ESA.
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