For centuries, we humans have been destroying the natural habitat of animals for our own purposes, whether by deforestation, over-hunting or because of over-population. Our lust for natural resources often overcomes the natural ecology. According to the IUCN Red List, over forty-thousand species are facing extinction. Here is an entire list of some of the more recent species that have gone completely and will never walk the earth ever again.
13. Quagga (extinct: 1880)
A yellowish-brown subspecies of the plains zebra with stripes only on its head, the quagga was a close relative of horses and zebras. It lived on grassy plains and in the drier parts of South Africa. It is very sad to know that the true quagga was hunted down for meat and vanished almost unnoticed, before any conservation efforts were made.
12. Passenger Pigeon (extinct: 1914)
Billions of passenger pigeons lived in eastern North America in the early 1800s. Huge numbers of the birds were reported in single flocks, which often darkened the skies for days. Sadly, these beautiful birds were hunted for meat and were declared extinct when the last known individual died in 1914.
Image: Lewis Medland
11. Bubal Hartebeest (extinct: 1923)
The bubal hartebeest once lived freely throughout Egypt, Libya, Northern Africa and Tunisia and was once used for sacrificial purposes. Also considered an excellent food source, they were driven to extinction by hunters.
Image: John Lewin
10. Thylacine (extinct: 1936)
A distant relative of the opossum, the thylacine looked like a dog with tiger-like stripes. Thylacines fed on smaller animals and were often considered a threat to small farm animals. So, due to constant hunting by farmers, the largest known carnivorous marsupial of modern times is now extinct.
Image: Jean-Jacques Argoud
9. Round Island Burrowing Boa (extinct: 1975)
A close relative of Round Island Burrowing Boa, known as Round Island Keel-scaled Ba
The best-known species of Round Island, Mauritius, the burrowing boa was last seen in August 1975. One of two members of a unique sub-family of primitive boas, it preferred to live in the topsoil of volcanic slopes. It is believed that extreme habitat changes and the use of poisons for the extermination of rabbits may have driven this predator to extinction.
Image: Hoogerwerf, A.
8. Javan Tiger (extinct: 1979)
Javan tigers were known for their unusually long cheek whiskers. They once roamed on the Indonesian Island of Java and were considered pests by island natives. Agricultural development led to a severe decline in their population. The last evidence of the tigers’ existence was in 1979. Since then, sadly no one has ever seen them again.
7. Tecopa Pupfish (extinct: 1982)
Native to the Mojave Desert, California, the Tecopa pupfish was first described in 1948. Found only in the North and South Tacopa, two springs of the Amaragosa River system, the fish was added to the endangered species list in 1970. It was later declared extinct, in 1982, after its natural habitat was destroyed by developers.
6. The Golden Toad (extinct: 1989)
The Golden Toad was a brilliant orange-colored toad last seen in 1989. The high-altitude regions of Costa Rica were the home of this fluorescent amphibian before it became extinct, possibly due to a fungal epidemic. Even though researchers are trying hard, they haven’t been able to produce any more evidence of the golden toad’s existence since then.
5. Zanzibar Leopard (extinct: 1996)
It is still not clear whether this subspecies of leopard is technically extinct. Locals believe that Zanzibar leopards were kept by witches. Extermination by humans and deforestation were largely responsible for their disappearance in the 20th century.
4. Pyrenean Ibex (extinct: 2000)
In 1980, about 30 Pyrenean ibex were reported to exist. With the death of their last family member in 2000, they were declared extinct. But, this was not the end. Scientists worked hard and brought them back into existence through cloning. Sadly, the cloned ibex also died due to lung failure. Native to the Pyrenees in France and Spain, no sightings of the ibex have been reported in recent years.
Image: United States Government
3. Po’o-uli (extinct: 2004)
The po’o-uli, or honeycreeper, was endemic to Maui, Hawaii. Predators, a decline in food sources and habitat loss are all thought to have been responsible for the beautiful bird‘s demise. By 1997, only three individuals were known to exist. Later, in 2004, the last known male bird also died in captivity.
2. Spix’s Macaw (extinct: 2004)
The spix’s macaw, the world’s rarest parrot, disappeared from the wild recently. Also known as the little blue macaws, it was the only member of the parrot genus Cyanopsitta. This magnificent bird, which came in various shades of blue, was endemic to the state of Bahia, Brazil and the Caraibeira Riparian Woodland. Though some of them are still participating in captivity breeding program, they have been declared extinct in the wild.
1. Madeiran Large White (extinct: 2007)
Once upon a time, this magnificent white butterfly flew in the humid subtropical forests of Portugal’s Madeira Islands. The gorgeous butterflies had a very limited distribution, as they lived in a very rare type of forest. Researchers believe that pollution from agricultural fertilizers and deforestation could be the reasons for their extinction.
We humans are destroying the concept of the food chain. Every day, a few plants and animals go extinct. The time has come to think things over again.