Extinction is a natural process; a typical species used to become extinct within 10 million years of its first appearance on Earth, but these days, when the planet faces a number of serious problems such as overpopulation, pollution, climate change etc., the species loss is now occurring at a rate more than 1,000 times greater than it would be naturally. It is very difficult to know exactly when a given species disappears in the wilderness, but it is safe to say that thousands of animal species go extinct every single year. For today’s post, we took a look at recently extinct animals we miss the most. From to the Javan tiger and the Caribbean monk seal to the dodo, here are 25 Extinct Animals That We Are Sad To See Gone.
Once widespread on the island of Madagascar, the Malagasy hippopotamus was a close relative to modern hippopotamus, though it was much smaller. First estimates suggested the species died out as early as some 1,000 years ago, but new evidences have shown that these hippos might have lived as recently as in the 1970’s.
Known by many other names such as the Chinese river dolphin, Yangtze River dolphin, white-fin dolphin or Yangtze dolphin, the Baiji was a freshwater dolphin that lived in the Yangtze River in China. The Baiji´s population declined drastically by 1970’s as China made heavy use of the river for fishing, transportation, and hydroelectricity. The last known living Baiji called Qiqi died in 2002.
Eastern Hare Wallaby
Discovered in 1841, the Eastern Hare Wallaby is an extinct species of wallaby that was native to southeastern Australia. It was a small macropod, slightly larger and more slender than its surviving relative, the rufous hare-wallaby. The last known specimen of this species was a female collected in August 1889 in New South Wales.
Once commonly found on the Indonesian island of Java, the Javan tiger was a very small subspecies of tiger. During the 20th century, the population of the island increased multiple times, leading to a massive clearing of the forests that were converted into arable land and rice fields. Pollution and poaching also contributed to the loss of the species. The Javan tiger has been extinct since 1993.
Steller's Sea Cow
Steller’s sea cow is an extinct herbivorous marine mammal that was once abundant in the North Pacific Ocean. It was the largest member of the order Sirenia, which includes its closest living relative, the dugong and the manatees. Hunted for its meat, skin, and fat by fur traders, the Steller’s sea cow was hunted to extinction within just 27 years of its discovery.
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Formosan Clouded Leopard
Once endemic to Taiwan, the Formosan clouded leopard was a subspecies of clouded leopard, a rare Asian cat that was considered to be the evolutionary link between the big cats and the small cats. Extensive logging destroyed this animal’s natural habitat, and it was proclaimed extinct in 2004 after 13,000 camera trap nights showed no signs of its presence.
The red gazelle is an extinct species of gazelle that is thought to have lived in the better-watered mountain areas of North Africa. The species is only known from three specimens purchased in markets in Algiers and Oran, northern Algeria, in the late 19th century. These specimens are held in museums in Paris and London.
Sometimes also referred to as the Elephant fish, the Chinese paddlefish was one of the largest freshwater fish. Uncontrolled overfishing and destruction of the species’ natural habitat made it critically endangered in the 1980’s. The last confirmed sighting of the fish occurred in January 2003 on the Yangtze River, China, and it has been believed to be extinct since then.
The Labrador Duck has the dubious distinction of being the first endemic North American bird species to become extinct after the Columbian Exchange. It was already a rare duck before European settlers arrived and became extinct shortly after. The female was gray, while the male’s plumage was black and white. It had an oblong head with small, beady eyes and strong bill.
Once endemic to the Iberian Peninsula, the Pyrenean ibex was one of the four subspecies of the Spanish ibex. In the Middle Ages, the wild goat was very abundant in the Pyrenees region, but it decreased rapidly in the 19th and 20th centuries due to uncontrolled hunting. In the second half of the 20th century, only a small population survived in the area, and in 2000, the very last specimen was found dead.
The dodo is an extinct flightless bird that was endemic to the island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean. Subfossil remains show it was about 1 m (3 ft 3 in) tall and may have weighed up to 21 kg (47 lb). The dodo’s appearance in life is evidenced only by drawings, paintings, and written accounts, which is why it remains unresolved. The dodo is used as a symbol of extinction and obsolescence in popular culture.
The golden toad was a small, up to 5 cm (2 in) long true toad that used to be commonly found in a small, high-altitude region north of the city of Monteverde, Costa Rica. In May 1989, the last living specimen of this species was found. Since then, no evidence of the golden toad has been recorded. The sudden extinction of this beautiful frog may have been caused by a chytrid fungus and extensive habitat loss.
Sometimes also referred to as the Solomons crested pigeon or the Kuvojo, the Choiseul pigeon is an extinct species of pigeon that was endemic to the island of Choiseul in the Solomon Islands, although there are unsubstantiated reports that it may once have lived on several nearby islands. The last confirmed sighting was in 1904. It is believed that the pigeon became extinct due to predation by feral cats and dogs.
Western Black Rhino
A subspecies of the black rhinoceros, a critically endangered rhino species, the western black rhino was once abundant in numerous African countries including Angola, Kenya, South Africa, Ethiopia, Chad, Rwanda, Botswana, Zambia and others, but irresponsible hunting and poaching reduced the population of this amazing animal to just a few last specimens by 2000. In 2011, this species was declared extinct.
Also known as the Ezo wolf, the Hokkaido wolf is an extinct subspecies of gray wolf that once inhabited coastal north-east Asia. Its nearest relatives were the wolves of North America rather than Asia. It was exterminated in the Japanese island of Hokkaido during the Meiji Restoration period, when American-style agricultural reforms incorporated the use of strychnine-laced baits to kill livestock predators.
Caribbean Monk Seal
Nicknamed the sea wolf, the Caribbean monk seal was a large seal species native to the Caribbean. Over-hunting of the seals for oil and the depletion of their food sources are the main reasons for the species’ extinction. The last confirmed sighting of the Caribbean monk seal was in 1952, but it was not until 2008 when this animal was officially declared extinct after a five-year search for some living specimens failed to find any survivors.
The eastern cougar (or eastern puma) is an extinct species of cougar that once lived in northeastern North America. The eastern cougars were part of the subspecies of the North American cougar, a big cat native to most US and Canada. The eastern cougars were deemed extinct by a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service evaluation in 2011.
The great auk was a large flightless bird of the alcid family that became extinct in the mid-19th century. Once widespread in the North Atlantic, ranging from Spain, Iceland, Norway and Great Britain to Canada and Greenland, this beautiful bird went extinct due to massive exploitation for their down which was used to make pillows.
Also known as the Eurasian wild horse, the tarpan is an extinct subspecies of wild horse that used to live in most Europe and some parts of Asia. As large herbivores, the range of the tarpan was continuously decreased by the increasing civilization of the Eurasian continent. Combined with a massive exploitation for their meat, the tarpans became extinct in the early 20th century.
An extinct subspecies of lion, the Cape lion ranged along the Cape of Africa on the southern tip of the African continent. This majestic big cat disappeared so rapidly following contact with Europeans that it is unlikely that habitat destruction was a significant factor. The Dutch and English settlers, hunters, and sportsmen simply hunted the animal into extinction in the late 19th century.
Falkland Islands Wolf
Also known as the warrah and the Antarctic wolf, the Falkland Islands wolf was the only native land mammal of the Falkland Islands. This endemic canid went extinct in 1876, becoming the first known canid to have become extinct in historical times. The animal is believed to have lived in burrows with its diet consisting of birds, grubs, and insects.
Reunion Giant Tortoise
Once endemic to the Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean, the Reunion giant tortoise was a large, up to 1.1 m (43 in) long tortoise. These animals were very slow, curious, and had no fear of man, which made them easy prey for the first inhabitants of the island who slaughtered the tortoises in vast numbers – to be burnt for oil, as food for people, and also as food for pigs. The Reunion giant tortoise became extinct in the 1840’s.
The kioea was a large, up to 33 cm (13 in) long Hawaiian bird that became extinct around 1859. The kioea was in decline even before the discovery of Hawaii by Europeans. Even native Hawaiians are seemingly unfamiliar with this bird. Only four specimens of this beautifully colored bird exist in museums. The cause of its extinction remains unknown.
Informally known as the koala lemur, the Megalapadis is an extinct genus of giant lemur that once inhabited the island of Madagascar. First settlers of the island used fire to clear local dense forests that were natural habitat of the lemurs, which, combined with massive over-hunting, significantly contributed to the extinction of these slow-moving animals.
The quagga is an extinct subspecies of plains zebra that lived in South Africa until the 19th century. As these animals were quite easy to find and kill, they were massively hunted by early Dutch settlers and later by Afrikaners to provide meat or for their skins. Only one quagga was ever photographed alive (see the picture) and only 23 skins are preserved today.
Photos: 21. Emoke Denes via Natural History Museum in London via wikimedia commons, 16. Biodiversity Heritage Library via Flickr, 15. John Cummings/wikimedia commons, 12. Harald Zimmer/wikimedia commons, 10. New York Zoological Society (1910) via wikimedia commons, 2. FunkMonk (Michael B. H.)/ wikimedia commons,