Ivory-billed woodpecker, inspiration for Woody Woodpecker, is extinct

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Ivory-billed woodpecker, inspiration for Woody Woodpecker, is extinct
Ivory-billed woodpecker, inspiration for Woody Woodpecker, is extinct.

The Ivory-billed woodpecker, the bird that is claimed by some to have inspired Woody Woodpecker, has been declared extinct.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed to 23 animals and plants off the endangered species list, including the Ivory-billed woodpecker, because no trace of them can be found in the wild any more. The Ivory-billed woodpecker is among a number of woodpeckers said to have inspired the visual image of the cartoon Woody Woodpecker.

It also means that there is no need for protection orders for them as, according to the available data, they no longer exist.

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John W. Fitzpatrick, director emeritus of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, told The Washington Post: “The fact that this bird is so critically endangered has been true since the 1890s, and it’s fundamentally a consequence of the fact that we cut down every last trace of the virgin forest of the southeastern US. We took all that away.”

Woody Woodpecker first appeared in a carton in 1940. In 1957 The Woody Woodpecker Show was aired on prime-time television. The show ran until the early 1970s.


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Deirdre Tynan is an award-winning journalist who enjoys bringing the best in news reporting to Spain’s largest English-language newspaper, Euro Weekly News. She has previously worked at The Mirror, Ireland on Sunday and for news agencies, media outlets and international organisations in America, Europe and Asia. A huge fan of British politics and newspapers, Deirdre is equally fascinated by the political scene in Madrid and Sevilla. She moved to Spain in 2018 and is based in Jaen.

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