Posted by Laci ♥ on .
Back from Extinction
In 2004, two biologists were canoeing in a remote part of Arkansas. They were searching for a bird that local people said was there. As the men floated along, they listened for a bird call neither had ever heard before. Then a crow-sized woodpecker flew across the river and got lost among the tall trees. It had a red crest on its head, a pale beak, and white bars on its black wings. The men stared, and then they looked at one another. Then they burst into tears. They had proved something amazing: Ivory-billed woodpeckers still graced the planet. But they were supposedly extinct. The last positive sighting of an ivory-bill had been 60 years earlier, in 1944.
Victims of Disappearing Habitat
Ivory-bills are America’s largest woodpeckers. According to experts, they need large areas of old-growth forest, including many big, dead trees, in order to survive. Beneath the bark of dead and dying trees they find beetle larvae, which is their main source of food. As the old forests were logged, the birds gradually disappeared. The last ivory-bills seen lived in northeast Louisiana. They survived there because the area had never been logged. In the 1940s, the timber company that owned the area where the ivory-bills lived “harvested” the forest, and the birds seemingly disappeared forever. But they weren’t gone for good. In large tracts of forest along rivers in southeastern Arkansas, there are forested wetlands that house centuries-old cypress trees, giant tupelo and sweet gum trees—and ivory-billed woodpeckers. At first, scientists kept the discovery secret. They were afraid the news of its rediscovery would cause a stampede into the area, which they wanted to avoid until they could be sure there was a healthy population of the birds. The people who live near the ivory-bills, on the other hand, could have knocked the hats off the scientists. The ivory-bills are a financial bonanza. Tourists are flocking to the area—exactly what the scientists feared. Local people couldn’t be happier that the scientists’ fears were realized.
There are still unanswered questions about ivory-bills:
How far does each bird move around?
How much dead wood do they need to sustain their population?
Where do they nest?
Until biologists know the answers, the future of these beautiful birds will be uncertain.
What details support the idea that scientists and everyday citizens have different responses to the rediscovery of the ivory-billed woodpecker?
I don't have an answer because i need some help.