9 wild animals that vanished (TAKEPART ONLY DO NOT USE)
9 wild animals that vanished during our lifetime
(Photo by Auscape/UIG via Getty Images)
This eastern Australian native ate its young—sort of. Unlike other frogs, the gastric-brooding frog incubated its offspring in its stomach. Scientists presume the female swallowed its eggs, and after six to seven weeks, fully formed frogs emerged from her mouth. Unfortunately, the International Union for Conservation of Nature declared this unique genus extinct in 2002. The reasons behind its disappearance remain unclear, but timber harvesting and water quality are suspected.
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The IUCN lists this bird, endemic to the United States and Cuba, as critically endangered. But despite many intensive searches, the last confirmed sighting was in 1987. It was reportedly spotted in the Big Woods region of Arkansas in 2004, but evidence—including a “poor-quality” video—remains controversial. (It’s debated whether the bird filmed was just another type of woodpecker.) Latest studies contend that the species is likely extinct. The culprits: logging, clearance for agriculture, and hunting.
By Andries Hoogerwerf (29 August 1906 – 5 February 1977) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Tiger populations have dropped 97 percent within the last 100 years. Among them is the Javan tiger, which the IUCN declared extinct in 2003 (though it hadn’t been spotted since 1976, in the Meru Betiri National Park in Java, Indonesia). Thanks to recent conservation efforts, the Bengal tiger in India might stand a better chance. Poaching is down, and more natural deaths of the big cats may signal that they’re recovering.
(Photo credit should read PATRICK PLEUL/AFP/Getty Images)
Also known as the little blue macaw, this Brazilian native inspired the main characters of the animated film Rio. Several live in captivity, but the species likely went extinct in the wild because of trade and habitat loss, among other factors. The Spix’s macaw was last sighted in the wild in 2000 in a preservation site in Bahia, Brazil.
Po’ouli or Black-Faced Honeycreeper
By Paul E. Baker [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
The po’ouli likely went extinct a year or two after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the San Diego Zoo tried to save it in 2004, when three individuals were confirmed to exist. The conservationists were only able to capture one of them for breeding, but it turned out to be male—leading them to believe that no female remains. The captive po’ouli has since died.
Caribbean Monk Seal
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The only seals known to be native to the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean monk seals—or “sea wolves,” as Christopher Columbus called them in 1494—were last seen in 1952 on the Serranilla Bank between Honduras and Jamaica. Hunters began targeting the seals for their fur, meat, and oil when the Italian explorer landed in the New World; fishing and coastal development drove the species to its demise in later years. The IUCN declared the Caribbean monk seal extinct in 1986.
Western Black Rhinoceros
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About a million black rhinos roamed Africa in the early 1900s. By 2011, the IUCN had declared them extinct. The causes: sports hunting, then agricultural clearing. Economic growth in China, where traditional medicine promotes powdered rhino horn as a cure-all, ultimately spelled the end of the species.
Pinta Island Tortoise
(RODRIGO BUENDIA/AFP/Getty Images)
The recent discovery of hybrid tortoises descended from this Galápagos Island native gave scientists hope. But the 2012 death of the last surviving Pinta Island tortoise, Lonesome George, was nonetheless devastating. A Hungarian scientist spotted him in1971, when the species was thought to be extinct because of meat harvesting and the introduction of goats and pigs that laid waste to its habitat. Today, Lonesome George is just another museum exhibit.
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From a Maine man delivering a baby porcupine on the road to Indian villagers pulling up a 400-pound lion that had stumbled down a well, many humans came through for wildlife in 2014. (Bless the Internet for making these heroic actions available for our viewing pleasure.) But besides the awe-inspiring videos also came dire reports about the state of animals.
Bees continued to die by the millions, thanks to decades of pesticide use. The number of poachers targeting giraffes—not just elephants—climbed. The World Wildlife Fund reported in September that the planet has lost 53 percent of its mammals, reptiles, birds, amphibians, and fish since 1970.
What does 2015 have in store? With any luck, better news. After all, if a village can come to the aid of an apex predator, the rest of us can band together to limit the chemical use, habitat loss, global warming, and poaching that endanger many wild populations. The animal kingdom has suffered enough losses, including the following creatures, which disappeared within our lifetime.
Watch the video below to see the top 10 extinct animals: