Written by By Nadine Pellegrini, CNN
(CNN) — A pair of long-eared owls, a pigeon hawk, the lace-backed lizard and at least 18 avocet birds are among 23 proposed federal species declared extinct in 2016 after living for more than a century or more, according to a United States Fish and Wildlife Service announcement Monday.
A class-action lawsuit filed in September 2011 has led to changes to recover endangered species and may have contributed to the Bhati and Sumatran elephant sharks reaching endangered status, officials said.
“With the avalanche of information that we now have from across the globe, we are making improvements to the (Endangered Species Act) program to help make sure it is not only a useful tool for enforcement but a valuable strategy for managing our wildlife,” Acting Director Dan Ashe said in a statement.
A handful of new species will be added to the list next year and an action plan to improve the recover policy will be updated.
The push came after a federal judge in 2011 found the federal government’s failure to list as endangered or threatened 65,000 species, their ranges and habitats was insufficient. The listing process is required by the Endangered Species Act in order to solicit funds to support recovery.
Currently the federal government is still gathering information on 22 species and is not ready to designate them as extinct, according to Erica Henderson, a US Fish and Wildlife Service spokeswoman.
Among the new namechecked species is the glossy-tailed salamander, a highly in-demand amphibian. Instead of the limestone ground water lake where it was reported, the salamander is now living on a mound in Peconic, New York.
Most of the species have been formally defined as “extinct within the last 50 years,” according to US Fish and Wildlife, and were listed through the Endangered Species Act.
Plaques will be placed at wildlife refuges that have previously listed species and the nomination office is being renovated, said Colorado-based attorney David Myers.
“When the list is first published it starts out as a list of zoos and reserves,” Myers told CNN. “Now that lists are more open to publication in general, there will be more opportunity for the public to find out more about the creatures they have in their backyard.”
Myers noted that the removal of another species from the list from Wyoming, the Blackhorse, or Parker’s prairie dog, is notable.
The bird was added to the endangered species list in 2001 as a result of changes to the gray wolf management plan, which also was ordered by a federal judge. Now the group is leaving the prairie dog “off of the list and moving it to the blackhorse,” Myers said.
Though it was written in 1791 and not realized for decades, Theodore Roosevelt made the prairie dog a permanent part of the federal list to preserve it, according to Myers.
“Today, because of the prairie dog, we still have prairie dogs in the district,” he said.
The United States Fish and Wildlife Service had already listed at least 124 plant and animal species as extinct in the wild, listed as endangered or threatened or unknown.
The new list of proposed extinct species include:
The last captive-bred long-eared owl and its four-legged companion the Oregon buntings,
The lacy-backed lizard,
The cotton-faced lizards,
The all-female ring-necked pheasant,
The Asian grebe,
The silk-coated night heron,
The furbearing ring-tailed leech,
The bird banded in the 1930s and never went extinct,
The paper-mache coated blackwater piranha,
The elephant shark (Indonesian),
The blackfooted ferret,
The Bhati cat,
The Sumatran elephant shark (Myanmar),
The Earth lifeforce chick and its cypher,
The flying fox,
The mayhoen’s hen,
The two-toed sloth,
The Grauer’s vulture,
The trumpet ptarmigan,
The clawed toad,
The velveted jaguar,
The range skirts of the wild vermicelli frog,
The mighty blackwing frog,
The great tit,
The scaled muthus moth,
The leaping ladybird and its moths,
The hive donkeys,
The Conchus chamaedragon,
The goblet-tipped tortoise,
The Zubinka spider,
The Pico de Obligo,
The ploughshare bat,
The denatured triceratops dinosaur