Rare Fish, Last Seen in 1957, Now Declared Officially Extinct

by Michael Freeman

Though steps are taken to preserve endangered species, it doesn’t always pan out. In this case, a fish so rare it was last seen in 1957 has now officially been declared extinct.

Last observed in 1957 in Ohio, officials added the rare Scioto Madtom to the endangered species list in 1975. The Big Darby Creek served as its habitat. Scioto Madtom’s numbers were already rare, but it frequently hid under vegetation and rocks during the day, making it evasive. Furthermore, if it wasn’t hiding, it only really came out at night.

Columbus Underground obtained a statement about Scioto Madtom for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) endangered species coordinator, Angela Boyd. She expresses her sorrow, stating “It’s not a happy day. It’s been somber, I guess I’ll put it that way. It’s a species that in the course of my career I was really hoping that we would find, but we never did. So it’s disappointing. But yeah, it’s time to take it off the list. It’s been looked for and looked for and not found, and we really do believe that it’s gone.”

Fox News reports the species declined due to “industrial discharge into waterways and agricultural runoff.” However, the FWS does not state the exact cause of its demise.

In the press release talking about the Scioto Madtom and other species’ removal from the endangered species list, Secretary Deb Haaland discussed it further. “With climate change and natural area loss pushing more and more species to the brink, now is the time to lift up proactive, collaborative, and innovative efforts to save America’s wildlife.”

Haaland concludes the statement, saying federal agencies and private landowners have the means to help preserve species in need and pleads for them to do so.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services Announce 23 New Extinct Species

Along with the ill-fated Scioto Madtom, the FWS announced a grand total of 23 new extinct species.

Bridget Fahey helps classify species for the FWS and talked about the sad event. “Each of these 23 species represents a permanent loss to our nation’s natural heritage and to global biodiversity,” she stated. Additionally, it serves as “a sobering reminder that extinction is a consequence of human-caused environmental change.”

The FWS added 8 freshwater mussels, 2 fish species, 1 bat, 1 plant, and 11 bird species as extinct. Among them is the ivory-billed woodpecker. Cornell University bird biologist John Fitzpatrick laments the bird’s untimely extinction and calls the classification premature. “A bird this iconic, and this representative of the major old-growth forests of the southeast… Keeping it on the list of endangered species keeps attention on it.”

Regardless of its classification, Fitzpatrick says “little is gained, much is lost.”