Losing an Icon

Heres a program from our archives.ambience, Ivory Billed Woodpecker We’re listening to an historic recording of the Ivory Billed Woodpecker, a strikingly beautiful bird, not seen in the United States since the the 1940’s. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.Jackson: The birds’ population has declined for a number of reasons, but the primary reason is the same reason why most of our endangered species today are endangered, loss of habitat.Jerome Jackson is a professor of biological sciences at Mississippi State University. Jackson: This is a bird that required extensive, mature forest. Man has used those forests. We have fragmented them. We have broken them up for our cities and towns and roads, and that has destroyed the habitat for birds. The second reason why the birds have declined is because of over-hunting. At the turn of the century, there was a price on this bird’s head. Collecting birds and their eggs was a hobby and there were magazines whose sole purpose was for the sale and exchange of birds and eggs. And people sold Ivory Billed Woodpeckers. Over specimens were collected within about a 20 year period at the end of the 1800’s, early 1900s.The Ivory Billed Woodpecker is really just the tip of the iceberg. It’s a symbol. We’re probably going to lose it. We may already have lost it in North America. But I hope that we can learn by its demise that old-growth forests have unique properties that some species absolutely require, and without the old-growth forests, those species will go. The Spotted Owl in the Pacific Northwest, the Red Cockaded Woodpecker in the southeastern United States are endangered species that are much better off than the Ivory Bill, but their populations too are declining. And perhaps in another half century they’ll be gone unless we’ve learned the lesson well.This archival program is part of our thirtieth anniversary celebration. If you want hear more, check out our podcast.

Losing an Icon

Old-growth forests in the US are disappearing, and with them a symbol of American wildlife.
Air Date:11/09/2018
Scientist:
Transcript:

Heres a program from our archives.ambience, Ivory Billed Woodpecker We're listening to an historic recording of the Ivory Billed Woodpecker, a strikingly beautiful bird, not seen in the United States since the the 1940's. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.Jackson: The birds' population has declined for a number of reasons, but the primary reason is the same reason why most of our endangered species today are endangered, loss of habitat.Jerome Jackson is a professor of biological sciences at Mississippi State University. Jackson: This is a bird that required extensive, mature forest. Man has used those forests. We have fragmented them. We have broken them up for our cities and towns and roads, and that has destroyed the habitat for birds. The second reason why the birds have declined is because of over-hunting. At the turn of the century, there was a price on this bird's head. Collecting birds and their eggs was a hobby and there were magazines whose sole purpose was for the sale and exchange of birds and eggs. And people sold Ivory Billed Woodpeckers. Over specimens were collected within about a 20 year period at the end of the 1800's, early 1900s.The Ivory Billed Woodpecker is really just the tip of the iceberg. It's a symbol. We're probably going to lose it. We may already have lost it in North America. But I hope that we can learn by its demise that old-growth forests have unique properties that some species absolutely require, and without the old-growth forests, those species will go. The Spotted Owl in the Pacific Northwest, the Red Cockaded Woodpecker in the southeastern United States are endangered species that are much better off than the Ivory Bill, but their populations too are declining. And perhaps in another half century they'll be gone unless we've learned the lesson well.This archival program is part of our thirtieth anniversary celebration. If you want hear more, check out our podcast.