Environmental biologists use the term extirpate to describe species once endemic but now locally extinct. For example, the loggerhead shrike is in danger of extirpation in Ontario, but not in danger of species extinction.

For a species to be extirpated, it has to be extinct within a species-significant range. You can't say that pigeons have been extirpated in your backyard because they no longer visit it. In the example of the loggerhead shrike it is believed that the endangered birds are a complete subspecies, and that they are in danger of extirpation throughout the range of the subspecies. Loggerhead shrikes are relatively populous in other regions.

Ex"tir*pate .] [L. extirpatus, exstirpatus, p. p. of extirpare, exstirpare; ex out + strips stock, stem, root.]

To pluck up by the stem or root; to root out; to eradicate, literally or figuratively; to destroy wholly; as, to extirpate weeds; to extirpate a tumor; to extirpate a sect; to extirpate error or heresy.

Syn. -- To eradicate; root out; destroy; exterminate; annihilate; extinguish.


© Webster 1913.

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