We usually learn about a few extinct species like dinosaurs, saber-tooth tigers, and wooly mammoths. Unfortunately, extinction doesn’t only apply to animals that shaped our world by being part of our distant past. Many animals have become extinct in the last few decades, and this is due to a wide variety of both natural and artificial factors like climate change, deforestations, human industrialization and human development activities.
Many species have been hunted to extinction. Animals may be killed for food, their coats, horns, or because of the supposed healing powers their organs possess. Others may be hunted for their meat that people usually consume to express their wealth and statute. Species also become extinct when their habitat is destroyed as a result of development. In some cases, predators cannot survive when their natural prey on the verge of disappearing. Read about our world’s top ten extinct animals.
- Tecopa Pupfish
The Tecopa pupfish was a species of fish that lived in hot springs in the Mojave Desert and was only discovered in the 19th century. The Tecopa Pupfish became extinct by cause of the drying out of waters, climate change and the introduction of other invasive species of fish to its natural habitat. The last sighting of a Tecopa pupfish was seen in 1970.
- Pyrenean Ibex
The Pyrenean Ibex was a subspecies of wild goat native to the Iberian Peninsula of Spain. Although there were once as many as 50,000 population individuals, their numbers had already been reduced to around 100 in the early 1900s. The species was declared extinct in the 2000s. However, scientists have made efforts to clone the Pyrenean Ibex from frozen tissue. Initial efforts did not succeed, but there’s still a possibility that this species will make a comeback thanks to scientific development.
- Javan Tiger
Every tiger species is currently threatened with extinction. The Javan tiger is one subspecies that became extinct in the 1970s. Native to the Indonesian island of Java, this population was wiped out due to hunting and the devastation of its environment. While there are active conservation efforts around the world to preserve the world’s remaining tigers, these cats are critically endangered because of habitat destruction, this causing breeding impairment, and population depleting. Moreover, people fear them and kill them to protect livestock and hunters seek them for their coats as well as their organs, which are used in Asian folk medicine.
- West African Black Rhino
All rhino species are presently considered endangered. The West African black rhino was declared extinct several years ago. The last official sighting of this species happened around 2006. Once abundant in central Africa, this population disappeared as a result of poaching and hunting for profits. Rhinoceros horns are highly valued in Asia, giving hunters a strong motive to kill these animals for the sake of money.
- Golden Toad
The golden toad was native to the forests of Costa Rica. Its bright golden color made it highly distinctive among other species and populations in the area. The last golden toad was seen in 1989. Although global warming was blamed for its extinction, some scientists now question this theory. Recent research suggests that El Nino events may have been responsible for their disappearance since the toad became extinct due to severe weather conditions that affected their natural habitat.
- Baiji Dolphin
This species of dolphin was native to the Yangtze River in China and is one of many species believed to have become extinct during the past decade. The Baiji dolphin, rare for many years, suffered the consequences of environmental degradation that destroyed its natural habit and overfishing for profit and the black market of wildlife populations.
- Zanzibar Leopard
The Zanzibar leopard was native to the archipelago of Zanzibar in Africa. This species was smaller that the average cat as a result of dwarfism, which occurs when animals get smaller over generations due to their living conditions on islands. Scientists don’t all agree on whether or not this species is extinct, but there have been no official sightings since 2002. These leopards were mostly wiped out due to a governmental effort that promoted their killing to protect livestock.
- Spix’s Macaw
Spix’s Macaw was a species of parrot known for its strikingly blue feathers. The last known bird of this species died in 2002, event that inspired a movie named Rio. They were driven to extinction by deforestation of their habit in Brazil and illegal wildlife trafficking for the sake of profits.
- Ivory-billed Woodpecker
The Ivory-billed Woodpecker, native to North America, was a large species of woodpecker whose current status is still controversial. Although there have been reported sightings in Cuba, Arkansas, and Florida, we currently have no confirmed sightings for several decades. This large species is either extinct or nearly extinct due to illegal hunting and habitat loss due to industrialization and human penetration into their natural habitat.
- Dutch Alcon Blue Butterfly
The Dutch Alcon blue butterfly, whose habitat was in the Netherlands, has been extinct since 1979. It was recognized for its blue-purple coloring. The species disappeared due to increases in farming that damaged its habitat and its food resources.
These are only a few species that have gone extinct. Many other animals are now critically endangered and are in imminent danger of disappearing. If you want to protect endangered species, it’s essential to learn as much as possible about animals and their habitats. You can then make informed decisions about practices and procedures that will help and ensure that you are not unwittingly supporting actions that may harm them.
One thing people can do is to stop buying foods and products that come from endangered species. For example, purchasing items made from ivory or tortoise shell encourages poachers to continue killing animals for these commodities. In addition to being conscientious about shopping and eating, it’s also beneficial to support organizations that work to protect endangered species.