The Ivory-billed Woodpecker, the largest woodpecker in the world,
has been considered extinct in U. S. since 1938 when its sighting was
last authenticated. However, the IBW also lived in Cuba where it was last
seen as recently as 2009, making its continued existence in Cuba more
probable. In May of 2012, the Western Alliance for Nature sponsored
an initial exploration of an area in eastern Cuba where it was last seen.
The exploration was led by Arturo Kirconnell Paez, Ornithologist
With the Cuba National Museum of Natural History.
The results were quite promising, having located a recently excavated roosting cavity.
Additional exploration is clearly called for to confirm their presence
through scientifically conducted in-depth surveys. The obstacle to
continuing this exploration has been the difficulty in getting both
personnel and funding into Cuba. With the recent opening of Cuba to
Americans we can now continue our project and fulfill our mission
to find and protect the Ivory-billed Woodpecker in Cuba. In fact the
opening of Cuba opens the flood gate for development and resource
exploitation which once extirpated the IBW from the U.S. thus making
this an urgent mission. We will expand our expedition to also search
for the Cuban Kite, close to extinction with virtually unknown ecology.