World Wildlife Fund (WWF) issued a statement from Leigh Henry, director of wildlife policy, in response to an announcement today from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) that 23 birds, fish and other species are now extinct:
“The news from U.S. Fish & Wildlife today is yet another glaring warning sign that our planet is in the midst of an extinction crisis and under serious distress. We have known that vertebrate populations worldwide are declining at an alarming rate: 68 percent on average since 1970. The extinctions confirmed by USFWS tell us swifter, bolder action is needed to prioritize the biodiversity that is so integral to healthy ecosystems and human well-being.
“Despite this worrying news, it’s important to remember that the Endangered Species Act has a long track record of success with 54 species removed from the endangered list because their populations have recovered. The ESA is a strong, effective law, but it remains perpetually underfunded. It is long overdue for the U.S. government to match its conservation resources to the level of the environmental crises we face today and ensure strong implementation and enforcement of the ESA and other environmental laws.”