Washington - Carter Roberts, president and CEO-elect of World Wildlife Fund, issued the following statement following reports that the ivory-billed woodpecker has been found in Arkansas, 60 years after it was believed to have gone extinct.
"Nature gives very few second chances, but this may be one of them. Just imagine: North America's largest woodpecker - a bird with a three-foot wingspan - hiding in the Arkansas woods for 60 years without being seen by people.
It's no accident that the ivory-billed woodpecker has been reported in Arkansas's Big Woods. The Nature Conservancy, the US Fish & Wildlife Service, and local communities have worked tirelessly for years to keep these magnificent landscapes intact. Without this place, the ivory-billed woodpecker would have had nowhere to go.
Even into the 21st century, nature continues to reveal mysteries that leave scientists astounded.
For a passionate birder like me, the search for the ivory-billed is the stuff of North American legend. This is monumental news for those who spent years trying to confirm that the species was still soaring through the swamps of Arkansas.
We thought we lost the ivory-billed woodpecker to habitat destruction early in the 20th century, as we have countless other species around the world. This news highlights the essential need to conserve large intact landscapes. What other secrets do the wild places in our own backyard hold?"