Conserving the Nature of America

News Release

FWS Publishes Draft Recovery Plan for Ivory-billed Woodpecker and Seeks Public Review and Comment

August 22, 2007


Division of Public Affairs
External Affairs
Telephone: 703-358-2220

A draft recovery plan outlining habitat needs and future conservation efforts aimed at preventing the extinction of the

"It's the right thing to do," he added. "The Service works with its partners to prevent extinction of species like the Ivory-billed woodpecker and that is the opportunity before us now. We want to encourage interested citizens, agencies and conservation organizations to participate in the comment period. The diverse team developed a balanced, common sense approach and we look forward to receiving feedback that makes it even better.?

Since 1967, the Ivory-billed woodpecker has been federally listed as an endangered species. The species appeared to be widely distributed throughout the southeast prior to European settlement. In this country, the bird ranged from the coastal plain of North and South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, large portions of Alabama, Mississippi and Arkansas, Louisiana, eastern Texas, west Tennessee, and small areas of Illinois, Kentucky, Oklahoma and Missouri. The range became smaller by the late 1800s and the woodpecker was no longer found in Oklahoma, Missouri, Illinois or Kentucky. Ivory-billed numbers continued to decline with the last confirmed sighting in 1944. Until 2004, there had been no confirmed sighting of an Ivory-billed Woodpecker in more than 60 years. The woodpecker's disappearance is closely linked to logging and the disappearance of contiguous forest habitats that once covered much of the southeastern United States.

Preventing extinction and ensuring the recovery of imperiled wildlife is a top priority for the Service. Recovery plans describe actions that may be necessary for conservation of the species and establish criteria for reclassification from endangered to threatened status or removal from the list of threatened and endangered species.

For the Ivory-billed woodpecker, the recovery strategy will initially focus on learning more about the species? status and ecology, including documenting known locations and characterizing those habitats. Population goals are not identified though such goals are key to recovery. Current efforts include development of models and additional research that will generate these spatially explicit population goals.

Copies of the draft recovery plan are available by request from the Service's Lafayette Field Office at 646 Cajundome Boulevard, Suite 400, Lafayette, Louisiana, 70506, or by visiting the web at: The draft plan also can be found at>.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. Visit the Service's website at

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