Ivory-billed Woodpecker Search Season Ends in Arkansas
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
“The search team did an excellent job working to strategically search this huge area,” said Jon Andrew, who leads the recovery team for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “They’ve got a lot of ground to cover, and it’s not easy to get around in some of these places.”
“The Big Woods is a wetland of global significance and extraordinarily important to the traditions and economies of local communities here in eastern Arkansas,” said Roger Mangham, The Nature Conservancy’s Delta program director. “The Conservancy has been working in the Big Woods for more than 20 years. We are continuing our long-term efforts to restore bottomland hardwood forests and to increase and accelerate assessment of the health of and threats to the region's rivers, which are the lifeblood of this natural system. What we’re learning is critical to the conservation of the Big Woods and to the wide array of plants and animals that live here.”
The search has provided valuable new information about the bottomland forest habitat that will be used to further conservation efforts for this unique and threatened ecosystem.
“The search for the Ivory-billed Woodpecker is not over – Audubon is proud of the role we played with our Recovery Team partners in hiring one of the coordinators of the terrific volunteers who participated in the search efforts,” said Ken Smith, executive director of Audubon Arkansas. “The search has allowed us to concentrate on both the Ivory-billed Woodpecker and the conservation of the Big Woods. While the many visitors to this area may not have seen the Ivory-billed Woodpecker, they have not gone away disappointed. The incredible habitat, wildlife and plant diversity of the Big Woods has provided them with a rich and interesting experience. We look forward to a continued productive partnership in the recovery effort and the preservation of the Big Woods.”
Searches and assessments of habitat conditions at Congaree National Park in South Carolina and Georgia, principally Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, are now transitioning from field work to data entry and analysis. Elsewhere, efforts in Texas, Louisiana, and Alabama are just now -- or will be -- getting underway. All of these efforts, like the search in Arkansas, are being overseen by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Attention focused on the Big Woods in early 2004 when experienced birders reported seeing an Ivory-billed Woodpecker in the Bayou de View region of the Cache River National Wildlife Refuge. The ensuing search resulted in several more sightings and several seconds of video showing a bird believed to be an ivory-bill taking off from the trunk of a tupelo tree where it had been perched.
A final report on the 2005-06 ivory-bill search will be issued later this summer.
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is a membership institution dedicated to interpreting and conserving the earth’s biological diversity through research, education, and citizen science focused on birds. http://www.birds.cornell.edu.
The Nature Conservancy is a nonprofit organization that preserves plants, animals and natural communities representing the diversity of life on Earth by protecting the lands and waters they need to survive. To date, the Conservancy has been responsible for protecting more than 15 million acres in the United States and more than 102 million acres in Latin America, the Caribbean, Asia and the Pacific. http://www.nature.org/wherewework/northamerica/states/arkansas/
The National Audubon Society is dedicated to protecting birds and other wildlife and the habitat that supports them. Our growing network of community based Audubon Centers, grass-roots science programs for bird enthusiasts, and advocacy on behalf of ecosystems sustaining important bird populations engage millions of people of all ages and backgrounds in positive conservation experiences. http://www.ar.audubon.org/
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