|White River NWR - USFWS Photo?
August 2, 2005
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said today it plans no changes at this time to public use
management at the White River National Wildlife Refuge in
This announcement comes on the heels of yesterday’s news that three
scientists are withdrawing a paper expressing doubt about evidence of the
rediscovery of the
Ivory-billed Woodpecker. Their decision to withdraw the
paper is based on a sampling of sound recordings taken from White River in
January, 2005 that strongly suggest the presence of Ivory-billed
These recordings are part of 17,000 hours of audio taken over the past 18
months at dozens of locations throughout the Cache and White River
ecosystem. Findings from Cornell’s research will be presented at the
American Ornithologists’ Union meeting later this month in Santa Barbara,
California. While Cornell’s scientists and others are excited about the
initial results, only 20% of the recordings have been analyzed. Indeed,
Cornell scientists emphasize that they cannot be 100% certain that the
sounds were made by an Ivory-billed Woodpecker. The Service will continue
to monitor the research activities in the area.
In April, the Department of the Interior, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, The
Nature Conservancy, and other partners announced the extraordinary
rediscovery of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker at Cache River National Wildlife
Members of two working groups of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker Recovery Team
are meeting today and tomorrow in Little Rock to begin developing the
bird’s recovery plan.
White River National Wildlife Refuge consists of more than 160,000 acres of
bottomland hardwood forest in southeastern Arkansas. It adjoins Cache River
National Wildlife Refuge, where there have been multiple sightings of the
Ivory-billed Woodpecker. White River National Wildlife Refuge has active
hunting, fishing, and environmental education programs, and maintains a
visitor center opened in 2003 in St. Charles, Arkansas.