Discovery of Ivory-Billed Woodpecker Thought to be Extinct "Is A Wondrous Glimmer of Life"

Statement by Larry Schweiger, National Wildlife Federation President

04-28-2005 // John Kostyack

RESTON, VA -- "Today's announcement of a confirmed sighting of the ivory-billed woodpecker in Arkansas, a species last seen in the wild in the 1930s and long considered to be extinct, is simply terrific.

"The discovery is a wondrous glimmer of life that had been feared forever dimmed.

"We extend our heartiest congratulations to all those involved, including our colleagues at The Nature Conservancy, the Cornell University Ornithology Laboratory, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.

"We are also proud that the Arkansas Wildlife Federation, our state affiliate, has long been in the forefront of successful efforts to conserve the rare bottomland hardwood forest habitat where the ivory-billed woodpecker has been re-discovered. This area, that includes the Cache and White River National Wildlife Refuges, has one of the nation's largest wintering duck populations and is home to several imperiled species. Hunters and anglers have been indispensable in safeguarding its wildlife values. That effort has now produced the beautifully additional benefit of having provided sufficient habitat for the ivory-billed woodpecker to survive.

"This discovery is also further proof why the ill-conceived $300 million Grand Prairie pump-canal-and-pipeline project that threatens to drain the White River water flow through these National Wildlife Refuges and other adjoining conservation areas is one of the worst ideas ever presented to the American public by the U.S. Corps of Engineers.

"Using the safety net provided to imperiled wildlife by the Endangered Species Act, we can now look forward to the day our children will enjoy seeing the ivory-billed woodpecker recovering in the wild."

The National Wildlife Federation is America's conservation organization protecting wildlife for our children's future.

Contact: John Kostyack 202-797-6879

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