Sep 06 2016

18 Animals Lost to Extinction

18 Animals Lost to Extinction
18.Dodo — In 1598, Dutch sailors made the first recorded mention of this animal. The flightless bird was native to the island of Mauritius (mar-rish-us) in the Indian Ocean. Although its exact appearance is still debated, illustrations and accounts from the 17th century vary quite a bit. The Dodo is thought to have stood about 1 meter tall and weighed over 39 pounds (18 kg). Sailors and invasive species hunted the bird to extinction. The last sighting of the Dodo was in 1662 … At least that’s the year most researchers agree upon.

17.Sabre-toothed Cat — They existed between 55 million to nearly 12,000 years ago. Also known as Sabre-toothed Tigers or Lions, they got their name from the bladelike upper canine teeth which could measure up to 50cm long depending on the species. They were really big cats … The partial leg bone the size of a horse was found by a trawler in the North Sea in 2008, that picture comes from the article from the Telegraph.uk. These carnivores could open their nearly jaws twice as wide as today’s lion! They were powerful enough to hunt prey as huge as mammoths. That may have been part of their downfall … as larger prey was replaced by smaller animals, the Sabre-toothed Cat may have been too specialized to adapt. That, along with competition from humans and climate change may have played roles in their becoming extinct.
16.Wooly Mammoth — It’s believed this enormous animal appeared on the scene over 400,000 years ago, spread across Northern Eurasia and North America. Known for their trademark fur and curved tusks which could be as long as 5 meters, these creatures could weigh over 6 tons … and reach up to 4 meters in height. They were built to survive the harsh environment of the last Ice Age (we’re not talking about the movie here by the way). Around 10,000 years ago the big animals disappeared from their stomping grounds. Rapidly melting ice played a huge factor in their extinction, as did humans hunting them. Researchers think the last of the wooly mammoths disappeared around 1700 BC.

15.Great Auk (awk) — Found in the North Atlantic, this animal was hunted for more than 100,000 years and was used for food and fish bait, which reduced the bird’s population. The European population of the bird was nearly wiped due to high demand for the bird’s feathers in the 16th century. The Great Auk was a big, flightless bird weighing about 11 pounds (5kg) with an average height of over 2 feet (80cm). In the British Isles the last of the Great Auk were killed in Scotland in 1844.
14.Tasmanian Tiger — You know about the Tasmanian Devil, but what about the Tasmanian Tiger? In prehistoric days in lived in Australia, Tasmania and New Guinea, and was a large carnivorous marsupial. It had no relation to tigers by the way … the dark stripes on their back just gave it a tiger-like appearance. It looked more like a medium to large dog, weighing some 66 pounds (30kg) and over 6 feet (2 meters) long nose to tail. On the Australian mainland, the so called tiger went extinct some 2000 years ago. But it survived in Tasmania until the 1930s. The animal was likely hunted to extinction, but humans invading their habitat, along with the introduction of dogs and diseases also played their parts.

13.Passenger Pigeon — When Europeans first arrived in North America, up to 5 billion passenger pigeons were thought to inhabit the continent. All those settlers resulted in massive deforestation, which meant the birds lost their habitat and their numbers dwindled. Their extinction was also hastened by widespread hunting after pigeon meat was turned into a cheap source of food for slaves and the poor. In the wild, Passengers Pigeons died out around 1900. In captivity, the sole survivor died in 1914.

12.Stellers Sea Cow — This was a big herbivorous mammal that looked like a seal with a tail that resembled a whale’s. They were discovered in 1741 by the naturalist George Steller, and inhabited islands in the Bering (baring) Sea and islands southwest of Alaska. It’s thought the animals weighed up to 10 tons (9071 kg) and grew up to 29 feet (9 meters) long. Human hunters found the sea cow an easy target due to its slowness, its tame disposition and the fact that it couldn’t submerge its huge body. Stellers Sea Cow was hunted to extinction within 27 years of its discovery. Manatees and Dugongs are their nearest living relatives.

11.Zanzibar Leopard — This big cat was native to Unguja (oon-goo-jah) Island of Zanzibar in Tanzania, and is grouped with the African leopard. Efforts to exterminate the animal in the 20th century escalated as locals believed the animals were evil predators kept by witches. There’s still much about the Zanzibar Leopard that’s unknown, with only 6 skins located in museums. It’s never been studied in the wild, and you’d have to go back to the early 1980s to find the last time a researcher made a printed claim to have spotted one. Still, despite government stats that show hunters still killing leopards, and islanders reporting the occasional sighting, most zoologists think the animal is extinct or nearly so.

10.West Black African Rhino — Weighing up to 2900 pounds (1300 kg), poachers hunted the animal for its horns which some cultures believe contain medicinal properties … although that has never been scientifically proven. The last West African Black Rhino was seen in 2006 in Cameroon. In 2011, it was declared officially extinct.

10.Javan Tiger — Native to the Indonesian island of Java, these cats resembled the Sumatran Tigers. They were once so numerous that locals considered them pests. That was in the 1800s. By the 1950s, only 20 of these animals survived. Encroachment on its habitat and agricultural development diminished the Javan Tiger’s numbers.




6.Tecopa (tek-cope-ah) Pupfish — A fish living in the desert? The Tecopa Pupfish called the Mojave Desert its home, and was known to survive in water temperatures up to 108 (42c) degrees fahrenheit. But the animal’s habitat was spoiled after development in the mid-20th century and the Pupfish was extinct by 1970.

5Madeiran (mad-aaron) Large White Butterfly — This beautiful butterfly was native to the Laurisilva (lora silva) forest valleys on Portugal’s Madeira (mad-day-ra) Islands. Pollution from agricultural fertilizers and construction leading to loss of habitat are major reasons for the species’ eradication. The Large White Butterfly, a close relative is still commonly found across Africa, Asia and Europe.

4.Bubal (bew-bal) Hartebeest — Also known as the Bubal Antelope, Ancient Egyptians once used this animal for sacrificial purposes. It called North Africa home and was a common sight there. But European hunters steadily wiped out these beasts for sport and food. The last Bubal Hartebeest was a female and died in 1923 at the Paris Zoo. You can see her picture here.


1.Pyrenean (peer-un-eon) Ibex — The Ibex (or ee-bex) was once found throughout the Spanish, French and Andorran (and-door-un) Pyrenees (peer-un-nees). The population was decimated by hunting and the species went extinct in 2000. But in 2009, scientists used DNA from preserved skin samples and actually cloned a female Pyrenean Ibex! Unfortunately, the clone died from lung defects shortly after birth. What are some extinct animal species you’d like to see brought back to life? Leave a comment below!