You most likely have heard about different extinct animals, but do you know the cause of their extinction?
There is a possibility that you may want to argue that most of the animals were hunted for other purposes other than for food.
But then, whether you hunt or in any way kill an animal for sports, for its skin, for ivory, or whatever, the animal can’t come back again because it is dead, and that is a minus to its population.
Read on to discover a few of the animals we have lost due to our thoughtless exploitation.
Extinct Animals List – 19 Animals That Went Extinct Due to Human Hunting
19. Yangtze River Dolphin
The Yangtze River dolphin which was last seen in 2002, was also known as ‘baiji.’ During an expedition four years later, 2000 miles of the Yangtze River was crossed by a group of researchers to see if they could locate at least one Yangtze River Dolphin, but to no avail.
The Yangtze River Dolphin is the first dolphin species to become extinct due to humans, according to the Whale and Dolphin Conservation group (WDC).
Its extinction was due to pollution, overfishing, poaching, boat traffic, and loss of habitat.
18. Bramble Cay Melomys
In 2015, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) formally declared these little guys extinct. Originally from Bramble Cay, a small island on the northern side of the Great Barrier Reef, the rodents have not been seen since 2009. Its extinction was due to the man-made climate change, which led to the loss of food and habitat.
The Thylacine was a carnivorous animal that preyed on rodents and kangaroos. It was a (mostly) nocturnal marsupial that was often referred to as the Tasmanian tiger and Tasmanian wolf.
Although the Thylacine looked fierce, it was actually very shy and “could be captured without a fight.” In the past century, reports of Thylacine sightings have been so common that it prompted research as to the status of their existence.
Its extinction was said to be the result of high dingo populations coupled with overhunting by humans.
Native to South Africa, the Quagga went extinct at the end of the 19th century. For a long time, the Quagga was considered to be its own species, until it was realised that it was closely related to the Plains Zebra and was, in fact, a subspecies of the zebra.
In appearance, Quaggas were interesting, literally the mashup of two species, a zebra in the front, as shown with the famous zebra stripes adorning this part of his body and a horse in the back because of the absence of stripes in this area.
Scientists are attempting to revive the Quagga and have seen some success by selectively breeding zebras by reverse engineering (who carry quagga genes). Its extinction was due to excessive hunting.
15. Golden toad
Not only is the golden toad the only species to go extinct in the last 40 years, but it may just be the brightest one. This small toad was last seen in a rainforest in Costa Rica in 1989, before being declared extinct in 1994.
Chytridiomycosis, a lethal skin disease, is thought to have decimated this toad population that was already vulnerable due to what Science terms a “small population and limited habitat.” Its extinction was due to global warming, pollution, and chytrid skin infection.
Native to Maui, Hawaii, Po’ouli, also known as Black-faced Honeycreeper, was discovered in the 1970s. The birds lived on the southwestern slope of Volcano Haleakala.
The population declined rapidly, and only three documented Po’ouli were left by 1997. Efforts to mate the remaining birds failed, and seven years later, the species was formally declared extinct.
Their extinction was due to low food sources, loss of habitat, predators, and disease.
13. Madeiran Large White
The beautiful Madeiran Large White Butterfly was first found in the valleys of the Laurisilva forests on the Madeira Islands of Portugal. The closest relative of the butterfly, the Large White, has widespread distribution throughout Europe, Africa and Asia. Its extinction was due to loss of habitat, and also emissions from agricultural fertiliser.
12. Tecopa Pupfish
Native to the Mojave Desert hot springs, the Tecopa pupfish has the distinction of being the first animal deemed extinct under the provisions of the Endangered Species Act of 1973. The extinction of the pupfish was precipitated when developers encroached on its natural habitat.
11. Falkland Islands Wolf
In the late 1800s, the Falkland Islands wolf went extinct. It was once referred to as the Falkland Islands fox and the Antarctic wolf. These wolves were endemic to Argentina’s Falklands and were unknown to the world before humans discovered the island and hunted them for meat and as trophies (they were killed easily because the wolves were very friendly).
Scientists believe that these wolves fed on penguins, seal pups, and other ground-nesting birds. Its extinction was due to excessive hunting by humans.
10. Round Island Burrowing Boa
The Round Island Burrowing Boa, originally from Round Island, a tiny island off the coast of Mauritius, preferred to live on the topsoil layers of the volcanic slopes.
It was once present on many other islands around Mauritius, but by the 1940s its population had declined, and only after 1949 could it be found on Round Island. Its last appearance was in 1975.
Its extinction was brought about by the introduction of non-native goat and rabbit species to its natural habitat, which destroyed vegetation and led to the disruption of the ecosystem.
9. Javan Tiger
The Javan tiger, similar in appearance to the Sumatran tiger, was native to Java, which is an Indonesian island. They were so prevalent in the 1800s that they were considered pests by island natives, but their population declined as the island began to develop. Only 20 tigers existed until the 1950s but they are now extinct. Its extinction was due to loss of habitat.
8. Dutch Alcon Blue Butterfly
The Dutch butterfly, which is a subspecies of the Alcon Blue, was found predominantly in the Dutch grasslands. Although, there are still closely related species in parts of Europe and Asia.
In 1979, the last Dutch Alcon Blue was seen in the wild. Its extinction was caused by the increase in cultivation and development, which led to the loss of food sources.
7. Pinta Island Tortoise
When Darwin visited the Galapagos in 1835, the Pinta Island Tortoise was said to be around. Sadly, the last purebred of this subspecies was a male called Lonesome George, who passed away in 2015.
The extinction of this species was said to be the result of the introduction of rats and goats to Pinta Island by humans. The goats destroyed the tortoise habitats, while the rats preyed on young tortoises.
Humans also played a part in the extinction of this species; they hunted the Pinta Island Tortoise for its meat.
6. Schomburgk’s Deer
The Schomburgk’s deer was endemic to Thailand and was named after Sir Robert H. Schomburgk, a German-born explorer who was knighted in 1844.
Some scientists claim that even though they were formally declared extinct in 2006, with the last confirmed deer supposedly killed in captivity in 1938, there might still be a few of these deer in the wild. This species became extinct because they were hunted aggressively by native leopards & tigers and by humans as well.
Dodos which have long been extinct was a large flightless bird. It previously inhabited the forests of the island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean.
The Dodos are larger than turkeys and weighed about 23kg (about 50 pounds). They had an unusually big head, a 23-centimeter blackish bill with reddish sheath forming the hooked tip.
Other features of these flightless animals that have gone extinct are their characteristically small useless wings, stout yellow legs, and a tuft of curly feathers high on its rear end.
The dodo was first reported in 1507 by Dutch colonizers, who described it as being a sluggish bird ‘unafraid of humans’. We guess its lack of fear caused its untimely extinction. It is said that sailors quickly decimated the dodo population as an easy source of fresh meat for their voyages.
The later introduction of monkeys, pigs, and rats to the island proved catastrophic to the languishing birds as animals such as hogs escaped to the woods, multiplied, and destroyed many of the dodo eggs. The last dodo was killed in 1681.
Sadly, very few scientific descriptions or museum specimens exist. The name dodo is derived from the Portuguese word duodo, meaning silly or stupid. In present-day usage the word dodo is applied to a simple-minded person unable to adjust to new situations and ideas.
4. Passenger Pigeon
One of the most recent extinct animal caused by ‘our doing’ is the passenger pigeon. Once famed for its massive migratory flocks that would darken the sky for days, the passenger pigeon was hunted to extinction in the early 1900s.
Billions of these gregarious birds once inhabited eastern North America and were similar in appearance to the mourning dove.
As American settlers pressed westward, passenger pigeons were slaughtered by the million yearly for their meat and shipped by railway carloads for sale in city markets before they spoiled.
Many persons became professional pigeon hunters who often raided their nesting grounds and annihilated entire colonies in a single breeding season.
By 1880 the decrease in numbers had become irreversible. Some efforts were made to breed passenger pigeons in captivity, but with little success.
The last passenger pigeon, named Martha, died on Sept. 1, 1914, in the Cincinnati Zoological Garden in Ohio. The pigeon sometimes foraged in newly planted grain fields but otherwise did little damage to crops.
Its greatest legacy to man was the impetus its extinction gave to the conservation movement. A monument to the passenger pigeon, in Wisconsin’s Wyalusing State Park, declares: “This species became extinct through the avarice and thoughtlessness of man.”
The direct ancestor of modern cattle, Aurochs was a large, wild ox that once ranged throughout Europe except in Scandinavia and northern Russia, across North Africa, and in large parts of Asia.
Standing 1.8 meters (6 feet) high at the shoulder with substantial, forward-curving horns, Eurasian aurochs were known for their aggressive temperaments and were battled for sport in ancient Roman arenas.
Predators posed almost no threat to the aurochs; a lone bull could fight off several wolves. But the wild aurochs were hunted aggressively by humans because it competed with domestic cattle for food, and its occasional interbreeding with domestic cattle disrupted progress in the development of domestic cattle lines.
The aurochs population also declined as its natural wild habitat decreased with the growth of both farms and cities.
As a game animal, Eurasian aurochs were hunted excessively and gradually became locally extinct in many areas throughout their range.
By the 13th century, populations had declined so much that the right to hunt them was restricted to nobles and royal households in Eastern Europe. Roman general Gaius Julius Caesar described the wild aurochs living in the forests of Germany in 65 BC.
Charlemagne, emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, hunted this animal in the 9th century AD. The meat of an aurochs appeared on the menu at a Roman Catholic abbey in Switzerland in the 10th century.
For many centuries, its horns were widely used as drinking vessels. In 1564, gamekeepers recorded only 38 animals in a royal survey and the last known Eurasian aurochs, a female, died in Poland in 1627 from natural causes.
2. Great Auk
The great auk was a flightless seabird that bred in colonies on rocky islands in the North Atlantic, namely St. Kilda, the Faroe Islands, Iceland, and Funk Island off Newfoundland.
The body of the great auk was approximately 75 cm (30 inches) long; the wings, which were used in swimming underwater, were less than 15 cm long. The large black bill bore eight or more transverse grooves. The bird stood erect on land. It had a black back and head, a white front, and a large white spot between the bill and eye.
It was an easy prey; great auks were killed by rapacious hunters for food and bait, particularly during the early 1800s. Enormous numbers were captured, the birds often being driven up a plank and slaughtered on their way into the hold of a vessel.
The last known specimens were killed in June 1844 at Eldey island, Iceland, for a museum collection. About 80 great auks and a like number of their eggs are preserved in museums. The nearest living relatives are the razor-billed auks, about 40 cm long.
1. Woolly Mammoth
Of the number of well-preserved, frozen carcasses in Siberia, the woolly mammoth is most prominent. These gigantic animals went extinct about 7,500 years ago, after the end of the last Ice Age.
Although climate played a major role in their extinction, recent studies suggest that humans may have also been a driving force in their demise or at least the final cause.
Extensive hunting and stresses of a warming climate are a lethal combination, and it seems even the mighty mammoth could not withstand the human appetite in a changing world.
In 1999 scientists working in Siberia recovered the complete remains of a woolly mammoth embedded in frozen mud containing plants and insects that lived 20,000 years ago.
Using a helicopter, the scientists transported the specimen to an ice cave about 300 km (200 mi) away. Scientists plan to slowly thaw their find and perform tests on the remains to identify the reason the animal died.
They also plan to study the plants and insects found in the frozen mud encasing the carcass to learn more about the environment the animal lived in.
Endangered animals list: Animals that are going extinct
While we’re still worried about the huge list of animals that have gone extinct, humans are still working on increasing the list.
Governments, NGOs are working tirelessly to curb this menace of needless hunting for food or their valuable parts.
For instance, the list of endangered and almost extinct animals is worrisome as it includes the likes of the Tiger, Pangolin, Rhinos, Sumatran Elephants, Sea Turtles, Orangutans and more.