It has been 4,540,000,000 years since the earth was estimated to be formed and 300,000 since humans came along this very earth, increasing the population. At present, homo sapiens are considered the prime inhabitants of this vast, biological diversity-induced, only living planet.
While there have been over 1 trillion species of living organisms occupying the earth since its formation, there has been a steep decline in the number to 8.7 million during these modern times, causing certain species to go endangered or, worse, extinct.
Before we move on to reading the nine animals which are extinct, let us expand our vocabulary relating to this topic, “9 animals which are extinct”, to help us understand this article better.
Difference Between Being Extinct Or Endangered
Extinct is originated from the Latin word “extinguish” and indicates the complete diminution of a particular species, leading to the formation of extinct animals.
While the exact number of extinct animals can’t be recorded, it has been said that more than 99.9% of the total species know to humans have been declared extinct, and it’s not just a tiny number.
Although the words extinct and endangered may sound similar, they are not.
The term endangered is used for species that haven’t wholly diminished, but the rate at which they’re declining has gone high, and there’s a contingent possibility that they may go extinct shortly.
Reasons For The Extinction And Endangering Of Species
Though the words endangered and extinct may have different meanings, the reason for their decline may be the same. Various factors contribute to the extinction of these species.
1. Climate Changes
One of the main reasons for the rapid decline in biological diversity is climate change. The two main components of climate change include global warming and change in climatic patterns, making it difficult for many species to adapt to the new lifestyle, increasing the extinction rates due to climate change.
2. Habitat Loss
Habitual loss refers to the disappearance of habitat, making it unfit for the species to continue their routine. As a result, creatures, unable to find food and shelter, decline their chances of survival, giving birth to the extinct animals. One of the reasons for habitat loss include:
a. Habitat destruction
Habitat destruction is caused by the collapse of wildlife’s habitat by human activity for their not-so-sustainable reasons like deforestation and harvesting of natural resources.
3. Human Needs
Human needs are yet another important factor leading to the steep decline of extinct animals. Humans, along with their increasing population, want to increase their quality of life and survival tend to exploit the natural resources more than what is needed and can be naturally regenerated, for example, excessive hunting, polluting wildlife habitat and introducing invasive species, which is a massive factor for the increase in extinct animals.
Certain acts have been enacted concerning the endangering of flora and fauna species. These acts have been passed to protect animals from various extinction factors.
Endangered Species Act
The endangered Species Act, launched in 1973, aims for a framework for protecting critically endangered species and their habitats. The flora and fauna species, considered to be under the protection of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), are noted to be called “Listed species.”
Among the extinct and lost species list, some like the Bachman’s Warbler and eight species of Southeastern mussels disappeared because the ESA couldn’t reach on time.
Fish And Wildlife Service
The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, enacted on September 29, 1980, grants the technical and financial assistance for the development and enaction of the conservation efforts of plans for fish and wildlife service.
Top 9 Animals Which Are Extinct
Now that we know all about the general information, which will help us understand this topic and extinct animals better. Let’s start with the top 9 animals which are extinct.
9. Pyrenean Ibex (Biological Name: Capra Pyrenaica)
Securing the ninth position, the last Pyrenean Ibex named (Biological name: Capra Pyrenaica, native to Cantabrian Mountains, Southern France, and Portugal) was last seen and declared extinct on January 6, 2000, under a fallen tree.
What’s unique and sad at the same time about this is that scientists tried to clone a baby ibex and were successful until the baby died due to some lung problems, making this species extinct again.
After living alongside humans for years, near the end of the last ice age period, these extinct animals, abundant in number, moved to the secluded area of Southern France with some subspecies of the same family.
And some centuries later, only a few, namely 40, were left and nursed in Ordesay Monte Perdido National Park in Huesca, Spain. Though the reason for the species decline isn’t still apparent, it’s been said that it may be due to some rampant disease.
Then in 2000, the last of the species Celia was found dead.
8. Passenger Pigeons (Biological Name: Ectopistes Migratorius
These 16 inches long message-carrying tall birds, the Passenger Pigeons, we used to read about in books and stare in awe when we saw them in movies, once abundant, are now extinct.
These birds, Passenger Pigeon, surviving among many flocks of such pigeons, large in number once, were hunted at a rapid rate as food sources and came in between the civilization needs of the humans, causing them to decline.
When finally, Martha, the last standing passenger pigeon, died in 1914 in Cincinnati Zoo. Even after specific trials from the scientists, the passenger pigeon could not survive, not adapting to being alone instead of the big flocks it traveled in.
7. Quagga (Biological Name: Equus Quagga)
These brown-colored Quaggas, closely related to the zebra family, believed to have been subspecies of the Plains Zebra, once found in mass numbers in South Africa, have gone extinct over a hundred years ago.
These extinct animals were believed to weigh 400 kilograms and be about 257 centimeters tall.
Yet another victim of the European hunters, they were killed at an alarming rate for skins and their greedy purpose.
The last Quagga was seen in 1883.
Although The Quagga Project has been assigned to breed a resembling breed like the Quaggas, the once extinct Quagga’s can’t be brought to life again.
6. Great Auk (Biological Name: Pinguinus Impennis)
The Great Auk, a large black flightless bird of the family Alcidae, was 30 inches tall with vibrant blue feathers of about 15 centimeters.
They were native to the North Atlantic coasters waters on the coasts of Canada.
These large flightless birds were captured and brutally killed by hunters during the 1800s for cheap food, following illegal trapping.
The last walking bird was found in 1844 at Eldey Island.
5. Yangtze River Dolphin (Biological Name: Lipotes vexillifer)
The Yangtze River Dolphin, believed to be the first dolphin species were found on the Yangtze River in China. These freshwater dolphins were about eight feet tall with slightly upturned beaks and poor eyesight.
During the 1950s, the industrialization and extensive fishing by the Chinese leadership to the extinction of the species. The Yangtze River Dolphin species are now declared as one of the animals extinct, and the last living Baiji was found dead in 2002.
4. Steller’s Sea Cow (Biological Name: Hydrodamilis Gigas)
Steller’s sea cow, unknown to science until 1741, was over 30 feet tall and weighed about 22,000 pounds. They had no teeth and depended on the plates in their mouth to digest their food. Since they usually floated at the ocean’s surface, they became an easy target for Russian hunters for food.
But that may not be the only reason for their disappearance, for it has also been speculated that a sea urchin population explosion is the reason. The Sea Cow is now one of the animals which are extinct. The last Sea cow was seen in the wild in 1768.
3. Dodo (Biological Name: Raphus Cucullatus)
Dodo, the extinct bird everyone knows about, weighed approximately 23 kilograms, was speculated by scientists to be a ground-nesting bird.
The Dodo was a native to the island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean, where it was hunted by sailors looking for an easy snack, causing the bird to go extinct.
The Dodo bird’s species has been declared as animals which are extinct for over 340 years. The last known bird was seen on an islet off Mauritius in 1681.
2. Woolly Mammoth (Biological Name: Mammuthus Primigenius)
Woolly Mammoth used to have dense black hair, a long trunk, and a fat hump. They were around thirteen feet tall and weighed approximately 6 tons.
These species were native to East Asia was were declared extinct over 10,000 years ago.
Their species came to a bitter end on St. Paul Island in the Arctic ocean because of the climatic condition and its extensive hunting by humans.
1. Sabre-Toothed Tiger (Biological Name: Smilodon)
Sabre-Toothed Tiger was similar to the modern African Lion, nearly 120 centimeters tall with a robust frame and 7 inch long canine teeth.
They were native to Europe, Asia, Africa, North and South America. They adapted well to different kinds of climatic conditions and survived 5 million years until they were hunted to extinction.
The species of Sabre-Toothed Tiger is now declared under animals which are extinct in 1936. The last living animal of this species died in Hobart Zoo, Tasmania, in 1936.
The earth is a sacred living space for all creatures. Our motives, needs, and methods have led o the extinction of many species. Though there are only nine animals that are extinct, there many more species that are extinct. Moreover there are over 16306 species that are endangered and on the verge of extinction. 41415 species are now on the Red List of IUCN.
If not taken proper measures to protect these species, many more animals will be on extinction. As stated in many kinds of research, the end of a species causes many significant changes in the food chain. It is liable to understand how each species plays a vital role in the ecosystem and sustainability of this planet. Most of the animals which are extinct are due to reasons related to human beings. These animals, which are extinct, have been a victim of hunting, climate change, destruction of natural habitat, and many more such reasons.
These are not the only animals that are extinct and completely disappear from the earth. There are many more. Hence, we as human beings should take proper measures to protect the wildlife and this unique ecosystem on planet.
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