A new study out claims that the once thought extinct ivory billed woodpecker is still alive in the southeastern US! Researchers at the US Naval Research Lab say that despite the lack of definitive evidence the bird is not extinct and that its habitat needs to be protected so that the bird can make a full comeback.
Researcher Michael Collins of the Stennis Space Center in Mississippi has presented evidence including 3 videos showing birds he believes to be the ivory billed woodpecker. He says his videos prove that the bird is not extinct. Collins says that over the course of 8 years of research he’s only seen the bird 10 times. He said his sightings are consistent with other sighting reports from the area.
The ivory billed woodpecker is/was one of the largest woodpeckers on the planet. Its numbers dwindled back in the 19th century due to widespread deforestation by the logging industry and hunting. In 1938 there were only 20 of these birds still around, so it was reported. Six years later a lone surviving female died and the bird was believed to be extinct. However, the bird was never officially listed as being extinct but simply was noted as being critically endangered.
Others doubt Collin’s claims and believe the allegation that the bird remains alive is just a ploy to prevent land development. Steve Milloy who runs the blog JunkScience says alleged sightings of the bird back in 2004 were organized and supported by the Nature Conservancy and he says that organization stood to benefit greatly from the alleged sightings to the tune of a $10.2 million dollar grant and gaining control over hundreds of thousands of acres of land in Arkansas! Milloy said you can almost hear that org laughing all the way to the bank! Fox News contacted the org and was told that they could neither confirm nor deny that they’d received federal funds related to the project! What? What a SHAM! You mean the Nature Conservancy doesn’t know if they got federal grants or not? How could they not know?
No one has gotten a clear image of the woodpecker on camera or video and apparently what exists is the standard old fuzzy, no detail images you find with alleged picks of UFOs and Bigfoot most of the time! Photos and video that really tell you NOTHING!
So is this just another SCAM so the Nature Conservancy can get its hands on more taxpayer money and federal land? Until I see some clear and decisive evidence that this woodpecker is still living I’d say so! So far I see NONE!!
That all said let me say a few things about MVP (Minimum Viable Population)…..
MVP is the minimum number of breeding pairs required for a species to breed and survive in the wild. Simply, it refers to the smallest possible size of a species that can exist without facing extinction. A breeding population of between 500 and 1000 is normally given as an average number required but when inbreeding effects are taken into account MVP estimates for many species turn out to be in the thousands if the population is going to avoid extinction. Some researchers believe a median MVP of at least 4.2 thousand individuals is necessary to avoid bottlenecks or extinction in any species. Others estimate that at least 500 breeding pairs must be present in order for a species to avoid extinction.
In the case of the ivory billed woodpecker there MUST be more than 1,2, 100! The same holds true with the Tasmanian Tiger, Bigfoot, and other alleged creature. If the population is small then inbreeding tends to take place resulting in sterile and/or retarded offspring! Perhaps this woodpecker has just gotten really good at avoiding man as many animals have. Perhaps not. I will say this, however. There are many animals, fish, birds, etc that were once thought extinct that turned out NOT to be extinct at all. One perfect example is the coelacanths who are far from being extinct. And what is interesting about this prehistoric fish is that there appears to be NO EVOLUTION as it looks the same today as it did millions of years ago!! Now isn’t that interesting?
Modern Coelacanth (left) compared to Coelacanth fossil (right)