U.S. wildlife officials have unveiled a draft recovery plan aimed at preventing the extinction of the Ivory-billed woodpecker. The plan outlines habitat needs and future conservation efforts with a recommended budget of $27 million. The newly ambitious drafted plan was made available for public comments last week.
"Interested citizens, conservation organizations, state and federal agencies and others, will have 60 days to provide comments on the 185-page blueprint put together by one of the most talented recovery teams ever assembled by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service," the federal agency said.
It is the first recovery plan crafted for this species and comments on the plan will be accepted by the Service until October 22, 2007.
Evidence supporting the Ivory-billed Woodpecker's rediscovery with the presence of at least one bird in the Bayou de View area of Cache River National Wildlife Refuge in Arkansas was announced in 2004 and 2005.
The woodpecker's rediscovery led to the need to develop a recovery plan. While the woodpecker's existence has not been confirmed since, tantalizing evidence continues to be gathered in Arkansas, Florida's panhandle, South Carolina, and other locations across its historic range.
"The opportunity to recover this icon of the ornithological world cannot and should not be passed over," said Sam Hamilton, regional director for the Service's Southeast Region and leader of the recovery team.
"Given the evidence pointing to its survival, we believe it would be irresponsible not to act. That's why we established this recovery team with some of the nationâs best biologists to help us chart a reasonable, well founded path to save this species." Hamilton explained.