Center for Biological Diversity

Protecting endangered species and wild places through
science, policy, education, and environmental law.

For Immediate release--December 30, 2005
Contact: Brian Nowicki, Center for Biological Diversity, (520) 623-5252 x311

Seven Lost Species Rediscovered in 2005
Seven Extinct and Extirpated Plants and Animals Rediscovered in United States in 2005 after as long as 90 Years
Species Rediscovered in Protected Areas and Wildlife Refuge

TUCSON, AZ -- The year 2005 brought news of the rediscovery of seven extinct or extirpated species in the United States, according to a report by the Center for Biological Diversity. The most prominent of these was the ivory-billed woodpecker, sighted for the first time in 60 years in Arkansas’ Cache River National Wildlife Refuge. While the woodpecker dominated the headlines, there were several other announcements in 2005 of species that had emerged from extinction or extirpation to be rediscovered in their former territory.

The least Bell’s vireo was observed nesting in the San Joaquin River National Wildlife Refuge in central California after being extirpated from the central valley in the 1980s.

The Cahaba pebblesnail was rediscovered in the Cahaba River National Wildlife Refuge in Alabama after being considered extinct since 1989.

Two other snails, the cobble elimia and Nodulose Coosa River snail, were found in a rare free-flowing section of the heavily dammed Coosa River in Alabama after being considered extinct since the 1960s.

The Mount Diablo buckwheat was found growing in Mount Diablo State Park in central California, after not being seen since 1936.

The California dissanthelium, a grass endemic to the Santa Catalina Islands, was rediscovered on the Catalina Island Conservancy after not being seen on the islands since 1912.

It is remarkable to rediscover these species after such a long absence or oversight. Also, it is highly notable that all of these plants and animals were rediscovered in areas of protected habitat surrounded by areas of severely degraded and destroyed habitat. In fact, five of the species were found in formally designated preserves, and two were found in a rare free-flowing section of an otherwise heavily dammed river.

"Protecting habitat is known to be the best way to protect endangered species," said Brian Nowicki, conservation biologist with the Center for Biological Diversity, "As it turns out, habitat protections are critical not just for the intended plants and animals, but for numerous others as well—including, it appears, species we have long written off as extinct."

The full report is available at the Center for Biological Diversity website:


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