Extinct No More


Hooray!–the Ivory-billed Woodpecker, thought to be extinct for more than 60 years, has apparently been found flying in the Arkansas backwoods.

While I personally mourn the extinction of the Passenger Pigeon and the Carolina Parakeet, I will venture to pose a very politically and ecologically incorrect question: Would Americans really want billions of pigeons nesting in and befouling huge expanses of forests and hordes of parakeets gobbling up crops? Evidently, earlier and poorer generations of Americans did not. Only a wealthy society can afford and cares to mount expensive efforts to save endangered species.

By the way, no one can argue that the Endangered Species Act saved the Ivory-billed Woodpecker since everyone thought it was already extinct. Further good news is that the privately funded Nature Conservancy has already been buying up land in Arkansas as habitat for the bird. Having made it through to wealthy ecologically-minded 21st century America, the prospects of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker's continued survival are pretty good.