Mankind has the honor of quite possibly being the most destructive force to ever hit mother nature. This list looks at some of the more recent, probably lesser known extinctions that humans have lent a helping hand to. Whether by over hunting or over population, driving a species to extinction is nothing to be proud of and it’s certainly not slowing down. This is a heartbreaking reminder that one day, your children might not know what a Panda, Sea Turtle, or Siberian Tiger look like. We have to protect the species we have so endangered.
Commonly known as the Tasmanian Tiger, the Thylacine was the largest known carnivorous marsupial of modern times. Virtually wiped out in the wild due to constant hunting (they were thought to be a threat to sheep and other small farm animals) and the encroachment of humans on their already limited habitat the Thylacine was finally recognized as being in danger of becoming extinct in 1936, too little, too late as that same year the last Thylacine, named Benjamin, died on 7 September as the result of neglect - locked out of its sheltered sleeping quarters and exposed to freezing temperatures at night in Hobart Zoo, Tasmania. 60 years later there are still claims of sightings, but all are yet to be confirmed.
The Quagga was a southern subspecies of the Plains Zebra. It differed from other zebras mainly in having stripes on the head, neck, and front portion of its body only, and having brownish, rather than white, on its upper parts. The last free Quaggas may have been caught in 1870. The last captive Quagga, a mare, died on 12 August 1883 in Amsterdam Zoo, where she had lived since 9 May 1867. It was not realized that this Quagga mare was the very last of her kind. Because of the confusion caused by the indiscriminate use of the term “Quagga” for any zebra, the true Quagga was hunted to extinction without this being realized until many years later. The Quagga became extinct because it was ruthlessly hunted down for meat and leather by South African farmers, also they were seen by the settlers as competitors, like other wild grass eating animals, for their livestock, mainly sheep and goats.
8.) Passenger Pigeon
The story of the Passenger Pigeon is one of the most tragic extinction stories in modern times. As recently as around 200 years ago they weren’t anywhere near extinction. In fact, they were actually the most common bird in North America, and some reports counted single flocks numbering in the billions. When a flock would pass overhead, sometimes the sky was dark for over an hour as they passed.However, Pigeon meat was commercialized and recognized as cheap food, especially for slaves and the poor, which led to a hunting campaign on a massive scale. Furthermore, due to the large size of their flocks, the birds were seen as a threat to farmers. The last Passenger Pigeon, named Martha, died alone at the Cincinnati Zoo at about 1:00 pm on September 1, 1914.
7.) Golden Toad
The first record of the Golden Toad was by herpetologist Jay Savage in 1966. The toad, recognized by its brilliant golden orange color, was native to the tropical cloud forests which surround Monteverde, Costa Rica. None have been seen since 1989. It last bred in normal numbers in 1987, and its breeding sites were well known. In 1987, due to erratic weather, the pools dried up before the larva had matured. Out of potential 30,000 toads, only 29 had survived. In 1988, only eight males and two females could be located. In 1989, a single male was found, this was the last record of the species. Extensive searches since this time have failed to produce any more records of the golden toad.
6.) Caribbean Monk Seal
5.) Pyrenean Ibex
4.) Bubal Hartebeest
Although it once roamed throughout Northern Africa and the Middle East, the deep-rooted mythology (once domesticated by the ancient Egyptians as a food source and for sacrificial purposes) which surrounded the animal was not enough to save it from European hunters who began hunting them for recreation and meat. People who resided in Morocco shot these animals for fun, and for hunting, which wiped large herds of them out. Many Hartebeests were captured and were kept alive (e.g. in the London Zoo from 1883 to 1907), but they eventually died out. The last Bubal Hartebeest was probably a female which died in the Paris Zoo in 1923.
3.) Javan Tiger
2.) Tecopa Pupfish
The Tecopa Pupfish was native in the Mojave Desert, in Inyo County, California, United States of America. This fish subspecies was originally found only in the outflows of North and South Tecopa Hot Springs. It was first described by Robert Rush Miller in 1948. Its decline began in the early 1940's when the northern and the southern spring which were about 10 yards apart were made into canals and bathhouses were build. The popularity of Tecopa Hot Springs in the 1950's and 1960's led to the building of hotels and trailer parks in that area. By 1981 the Tecopa Pupfish was officially de-listed by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and it became the first animal which was officially declared extinct according to the provisions of the Endangered Species Act of 1973.
1.) Baiji River Dolphin
So please remember, that our ecosystems and our animal species are delicate, and they will more often need our help to survive. Humans drove these amazing creatures to extinction through pollution, over-hunting, and habitat loss...we have to start making things right again.
Love and Lightning Bugs,