Saying Goodbye: Species We Lost to Extinction in 2023

By Sophia Maddox | March 25, 2024

Maui 'ākepa (Hawaii)

In 2023, our planet bore witness to the sobering reality of extinction as several precious species vanished from the face of the Earth. From the lush forests of Hawaii to the winding rivers of Ohio, these once-vibrant inhabitants of our diverse ecosystems met their untimely demise. 'Saying Goodbye: Species We Lost to Extinction in 2023,' serves as a somber tribute to the unique creatures that once enriched our world. Join us in paying homage to their existence, illuminating the factors that drove them to extinction, and advocating for the pressing importance of conservation in safeguarding our planet's delicate biodiversity. Together, we will reminisce and contemplate the lives and ecosystems forever transformed by the departure of these extraordinary species. 

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Bret Mossman

The Maui 'ākepa, a beautiful Hawaiian bird, faced a tragic fate as it went extinct in 2023. This unique and colorful species, characterized by its vibrant yellow plumage and distinctive bill, was native to Maui. Habitat loss and the relentless threat of introduced diseases and invasive species were the key factors that contributed to its decline. The loss of the Maui 'ākepa underscores the importance of conserving and restoring Hawaii's fragile ecosystems to protect its remaining endemic bird species from a similar fate.

The Maui 'ākepa unique and melodious song, once a part of Maui's natural symphony, can be listened to here

Po'ouli (Hawaii)

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© Paul Baker / HAS Education File

The Po'ouli, a critically endangered Hawaiian bird, tragically went extinct in 2023. Known for its distinctive appearance with a long, downward-curved bill and striking plumage, the Po'ouli was endemic to the island of Maui. Despite dedicated conservation efforts, its small population dwindled due to habitat loss, disease, and the introduction of invasive species. The Po'ouli's extinction serves as a stark reminder of the fragility of island ecosystems and the urgent need for habitat preservation and invasive species control to protect the unique avian diversity of Hawaii.