The US Fish & Wildlife Service has published a draft Recovery Plan for the Ivory-billed Woodpecker. Furthermore, the organization seeks public review and comment:
A draft recovery plan outlining habitat needs and future conservation efforts aimed at preventing the extinction of the Ivory-billed woodpecker was made available for public comment today.
Interested citizens, conservation organizations, state and federal agencies and others, will have 60 days to provide comments on the 185-page blueprint put together by one of the most talented recovery teams ever assembled by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. It is the first recovery plan crafted for this species and comments on the plan will be accepted by the Service until October 22, 2007.
Evidence supporting the Ivory-billed Woodpeckerâ€™s rediscovery with the presence of at least one bird in the Bayou de View area of Cache River National Wildlife Refuge was announced in 2004 and 2005. The woodpeckerâ€™s rediscovery led to the need to develop a recovery plan. While the woodpeckerâ€™s existence has not been confirmed since, tantalizing evidence continues to be gathered in Arkansas, Floridaâ€™s panhandle, South Carolina, and other locations across its historic range…
the FWS has created a treasure trove of information about the search for the ivory-bill to accompany the Draft Ivory-billed Woodpecker Recovery Plan itself. This massive document, 182 pages in length, deserves a look if only for its impressive production values.
One has to admire the thoroughness of the FWS in drafting a recovery plan for a bird that may already be extinct. The optimist in me wants to applaud this act as a worthy commitment to preserving the last hope for the Grail Bird’s survival. My inner pragmatist, on the other hand, lost faith in Cornell’s quixotic search years ago. What are your thoughts?
$28 million over the 4 years sure seems like a lot for a bird no one’s gotten a good look at yet. Cornell and FWS must be sure that money wouldn’t be better spent on Lesser Prairie-Chicken, Gunnison Sage-Grouse, Kirtland’s Warbler, Cerulean Warbler, Black-capped Vireo, Whooping Crane, California Gnatcatcher, etc etc. The list sadly goes on and on…
I’m not sure that it makes sense to implement an expensive recovery plan for the ivory-billed woodpecker when so little is known about what populations may exist and what their needs are. Tanner’s research is 60 years old and based on one small population. I can see some benefit to conserving more habitat in the historical IBWO range, since that would benefit other species even if there are no IBWOs. Until Cornell or the Hill team (or someone else) can establish how many birds are left and where they are located, the bulk of the money would be better spent elsewhere.
Now if they offered the 28 million for proof of the Ivory Billed Woodpecker, I think we would get an answer real quick as to whether or not the bird exists.
But I agree with Nathan, the money could be used elsewhere (a lot of arctic species are going to need help soon), that is unless someone can show a banded bird, clear video footage or solid photographs. Otherwise it’s like building the Maginot Line, you are fighting the previous war.
I like that Maginot Line analogy, Will. Of course, I agree with you guys. There are plenty of equally beautiful, even charismatic birds that could benefit from this level of attention, but none of them are “the Lord God Bird.”
I’m pretty sure that I saw a pair of Ivorybilled woodpeckers in central florida. This was back in 2010 I was camping with my girls at camp La Noche , which is in the southern part of Ocala National forest. I know they were ivorybiled because they were huge, over 16″ and they were yanking and making a ruckus.