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I was wondering if there were any species that went extinct for being excessively hunted/eaten by predators? I don't mean human hunting. For example, I wish to know if there's a species of frog that are now extinct, because they were driven to extinction by predation by snakes. In fact I'm also OK with examples where a species/class of plant or grass went extinct due to overgrazing? I want to know because I've always heard people say "Nature corrects itself" or "hunting is under control in the natural environment" etc. Is this argument valid?
The Brown Tree snake (Boiga irregularis) is responsible for five extinctions on the island of Guam. Some of these species existed only on Guam, while others exist elsewhere and so it is the Guam subspecies that has been lost.
Guam flycatcher (Myiagra freycineti). Last sighted in 1983.
Guam rail (Gallirallus owstoni) is extinct in the wild, but is now bred in captivity and has been introduced to the island of Rota.
Guam kingfisher (Todiramphus cinnamominus) is also extinct in the wild and exists only in a captive breeding program.
Guam flying fox (Pteropus tokudae). Went extinct in the late 1960's possibly as a result of the Brown Tree snake.
I had a suprisingly difficult time obtaining accurate lists of the Guam extinctions.
For an example of overgrazing leading to a local extinction, see St. Matthew island in the Bering Sea. The US Coast Guard introduced reindeer in 1944. By 1963 there were ~6,000. Without any natural predation to control the population, they are considered to have overgrazed, causing a population collapse to 42 by 1965 and no reindeer population by the 1980's.
WHen new connections form between formerly isolated land masses there is usually a drastic shift in the ecosystem as new hunters and herbivores enter that the native animals have no defense for. Snakes, and rats are not native to many islands, when introduced they often decimate local animals. The same thing happens when humans introduce species. See the brown tree snake in Guam or rabbits in Australia or nile perch in lake Victoria.
Example of species that went extinct because of excessive hunting by non-humanoid predators? - Biology
The Trump administration has proposed to strip the gray wolf of its endangered status.
The Endangered Species Act (ESA) was established in 1973 to protect “imperiled species and the ecosystems upon which they depend” and help them recover.
The Trump administration has put forth a number of proposals that would weaken the ESA. These include measures to allow for the consideration of economic impacts when enforcing the ESA, ending the practice of automatically giving threatened species the same protection as endangered species, and making it easier to remove species from the endangered list.
In a way, this is nothing new because the ESA has been under attack for decades from construction, development, logging, water management, fossil fuel extraction and other industries that contend the act stifles economic development. But between 2016 and 2018 alone, there were almost 150 attempts to undercut the ESA and last year, from July 8 to 22, Republicans in Congress or the Trump administration introduced 24 such measures and spending bill riders.
These bills included efforts to remove the gray wolf’s protected status in Wyoming and the western Great Lakes a plan to remove from the endangered list the American burying beetle that lives on oil-rich land and a strategy to roll back protection of the sage-grouse, which also inhabits oil-rich land in the West and whose numbers have declined 90 percent since the West was first settled. The Trump Administration recently opened up nine million acres of sage-grouse habitat to drilling and mining.
Endangered species, if not protected, could eventually become extinct—and extinction has a myriad of implications for our food, water, environment and even health.
Extinction rates are accelerating
Ninety-nine percent of all species that have ever lived have gone extinct over the course of five mass extinctions, which, in the past, were largely a result of natural causes such as volcano eruptions and asteroid impacts. Today, the rate of extinction is occurring 1,000 to 10,000 times faster because of human activity. The main modern causes of extinction are the loss and degradation of habitat (mainly deforestation), over exploitation (hunting, overfishing), invasive species, climate change, and nitrogen pollution.
There are also other threats to species such as the pervasive plastic pollution in the ocean—a recent study found that 100 percent of sea turtles had plastic or microplastic in their systems.
This loggerhead was entangled in a line dragging a plastic bucket. Photo: U.S. Coast Guard, Matt Strucic
Emerging diseases affecting more and more wildlife species such as bats, frogs and salamanders are the result of an increase in travel and trade, which allows pests and pathogens to hitch rides to new locations, and warming temperatures that enable more pests to survive and spread. Wildlife trafficking also continues to be a big problem because for some species, the fewer members there are, the more valuable they become to poachers and hunters.
How many species are endangered?
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species, over 26,500 species are in danger of extinction. This includes 40 percent of amphibians, 34 percent of conifers, 33 percent of reef-building corals, 25 percent of mammals and 14 percent of birds. In the U.S., over 1,600 species are listed as threatened or endangered.
A 2018 report by the Endangered Species Coalition found that ten species in particular are “imperiled” by the Trump administration’s proposals: California condor, giraffe, Hellbender salamander, Humboldt marten, leatherback and loggerhead sea turtles, red wolf, rusty patched bumble bee,
San Bernardino Kangaroo rat Photo: Gursharan Singh
San Bernardino kangaroo rat, West Indian manatee, and Western yellow-billed cuckoo.
The web of life
While it may seem unimportant if we lose one salamander or rat species, it matters because all species are connected through their interactions in a web of life. A balanced and biodiverse ecosystem is one in which each species plays an important role and relies on the services provided by other species to survive. Healthy ecosystems are more productive and resistant to disruptions.
A recent study found that extreme environmental change could trigger an “extinction domino effect.” One of the study’s authors said, “Because all species are connected in the web of life, our paper demonstrates that even the most tolerant species ultimately succumb to extinction when the less-tolerant species on which they depend disappear.” So saving one species means saving its habitat and the other species that live there too.
“When you lose one species, it affects the ecosystem and everything around it gets a little bit more fragile while it adapts to change,” said Kelsey Wooddell, assistant director of the Earth Institute Center for Environmental Sustainability. “Even if it’s not a keystone species [a species that others in an ecosystem depend on], its loss will weaken the functionality of the entire ecosystem, which just makes it easier for that ecosystem to stop working.”
What are the consequences of extinction?
Altering ecosystems through cascading effects
If a species has a unique function in its ecosystem, its loss can prompt cascading effects through the food chain (a “trophic cascade”), impacting other species and the ecosystem itself.
An often-cited example is the impact of the wolves in Yellowstone Park, which were hunted to near extinction by 1930. Without them, the elk and deer they had preyed upon thrived, and their grazing decimated streamside willows and aspens, which had provided habitat for songbirds. This left the stream banks susceptible to erosion, and a decline in songbirds allowed mosquitoes and other insects the birds would have eaten to multiply. When the wolves were reintroduced to the park in 1995, they once again preyed on the elk plant life returned to the stream banks and along with it, birds, beavers, fish and other animals. (Note: David Bernhardt, acting secretary of the Department of the Interior, just announced a proposal to strip gray wolves of their endangered status in the Lower 48 states.)
Kelp forests are another classic example. They play an important role in coastal ecosystems because they provide habitat for other species, protect the coastline from storm surges and absorb carbon dioxide.
Yet kelp forests are rapidly getting mowed down by exploding numbers of purple sea urchin. California sea otters eat the purple sea urchins that feed on giant kelp. These otters used to number in the hundreds of thousands to millions, but their population has been reduced to about 3,000 as a result of unchecked hunting in the 19th century and pollution. Moreover, in 2013 the sunflower starfish, which also eats purple sea urchins, began dying because of a virus that was likely exacerbated by warmer waters. Without the sea otter and the sunflower starfish predators, the purple sea urchin began feasting on the kelp forests, which declined 93 percent between 2013 and 2018. (A new study found that kelp forests are now also threatened by ocean heat waves.) The explosion of sea urchins not only damaged the kelp ecosystem, it also had serious impacts on Northern California’s red urchins that are valued for sushi. Fish that need the kelp forests for spawning, such as sculpin, rock cod and red snapper may become vulnerable in the future as well.
As another example, Wooddell explained that on Guam, after the invasive brown tree snake was accidentally introduced to the island in the 1950s, 10 of the island’s 12 endemic bird species went extinct. “Typically birds eat seeds and spread seeds elsewhere on the island but that is no longer a functioning ecosystem,” she said. “So the forest and the trees have decreased a lot. And Guam is covered in spiders because the birds are not there to eat them.”
Losing apex species has multiple effects
Eliminating the large predators at the top of the food chain, the “apex species,” may be humans’ most serious impact on nature, according to one study. These large species are more vulnerable because they live longer, reproduce more slowly, have small populations, and need more food and a greater habitat area. Scientists say their loss has played a role in pandemics, fires, the decline of valued species and the rise of invasive ones, the reduction of ecosystem services, and decreased carbon sequestration.
Elephants are an apex species that may go extinct in our lifetime, as a result of tourism, habitat loss and poaching for ivory. This could dramatically change ecosystems in Africa and Asia. Through consumption and digestion, elephants disperse more seeds farther than any other animals this fosters the growth of plants and trees that birds, bats and other animals depend upon for food and shelter.
Elephants also dig water holes that all animals share, and they fertilize the soil with their rich dung, which provides food for other animals.
The loss of apex species can also affect wildfires. After rinderpest, an infectious virus, wiped out many plant-eating wildebeest and buffalo in East Africa in the late 1800s, plants flourished. During the dry season, this over-abundance of vegetation spurred an increase in wildfires. In the 1960s, after rinderpest was eliminated through vaccinations, the wildebeest and buffalo returned. The ecosystem went from shrubbery to grasslands again, decreasing the amount of combustible vegetation, and the wildfires decreased.
Seventy-five percent of the world’s food crops are partially or completely pollinated by insects and other animals, and practically all flowering plants in the tropical rainforest are pollinated by animals. The loss of pollinators could result in a decrease in seed and fruit production, leading ultimately to the extinction of many important plants.
Flying foxes, also known as fruit bats, are the only pollinators of some rainforest plants. They have been over-hunted in tropical forests with several species going extinct. One study noted that 289 plant species, including eucalyptus and agave, rely on flying foxes to reproduce in turn, these plants were responsible for producing 448 valuable products.
Bees pollinate over 250,000 species of plants, including most of the 87 crops that humans rely on for food, such as almonds, apples and cucumbers.
Honeybees are responsible for pollinating approximately $15 billion worth of crops in the U. S. each year. Photo: USDA Forest Service.
But in recent years, large populations of bees have been wiped out by the mysterious “colony collapse disorder” wherein adult honeybees disappear from their hive, likely in response to numerous stressors.
Over the last 20 years in the U.S., monarch butterflies, which pollinate many wildflowers, have decreased 90 percent. The rusty-patched bumble bee, another important pollinator and the first bee species to be put on the endangered list, now only occupies one percent of its former range.
Insect populations overall are declining due to climate change, habitat degradation, herbicides and pesticides. A 2014 review of insect studies found that most monitored species had decreased by about 45 percent. And a German study found 75 percent fewer flying insects after just 27 years. As insect populations are reduced, the small animals, fish and birds that rely on them for food are being affected, and eventually the predators of fish and birds will feel the impacts as well. One entomologist who had studied insects in the rainforest in the 1970s returned in 2010 to find an up to 60-fold reduction. His study reported “a bottom-up trophic cascade and consequent collapse of the forest food web.”
Endangering the food chain
Plankton, tiny plant and animal organisms that live in the ocean or fresh water, make up the foundation of the marine food chain. Phytoplankton are critical to the health of oceans and the planet because they consume carbon dioxide and produce oxygen during photosynthesis.
In 2010, researchers found that phytoplankton had decreased 40 percent globally since 1950, and attributed the decline to rising sea surface temperatures. The scientists speculated that the warming surface waters did not mix well with the cooler, deeper waters rich in nutrients that phytoplankton need. In addition, zooplankton are very sensitive to slight changes in the amount of oxygen in the ocean, and may be unable to adapt as areas of low oxygen expand due to climate change.
The quantity and quality of plankton also affects the nutrition of other creatures further up the food chain. In the Mediterranean Sea, the biomass of sardines and anchovies declined by one-third in just ten years. One scientist speculated that this is because the sardines’ and anchovies’ normal plankton had disappeared, so they had to resort to eating a less nutritious species of plankton with fewer calories. Changes in plankton quality could be a result of water temperature, pollution or lack of nutrients, but scientists are not exactly sure why the plankton makeup in some places is changing. If it is due to global warming and pollution, some say the situation could worsen.
However, Sonya Dyhrman, a professor in Columbia University’s Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences who studies phytoplankton with the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, is more sanguine about the future. “Microbes like phytoplankton can adapt, can acclimate, and can evolve, so I worry less about lineages of phytoplankton going extinct and more about how phytoplankton community composition will change in the future ocean,” said Dyhrman.
A different community composition of phytoplankton could change the food web structure, but Dyhrman is not really worried about the total collapse of fisheries. She is concerned, however, that “there could be changes in ocean ecosystems and we don’t really know what those changes will be. What will the architecture of that ecosystem look like in the future? The problem is, the ocean is already changing and we don’t understand the architecture of the ecosystem right now well enough to predict what will happen in the future.“
Losing nature’s therapeutic riches
More than a quarter of prescription medications contain chemicals that were discovered through plants or animals. Penicillin was derived from a fungus. Scientists are studying the venom of some tarantulas to see if one of its compounds could help cure diseases such as Parkinson’s. One molecule from a rare marine bacterium could be the basis of a new way to treat to melanoma.
Scientists have so far identified about 1.7 million different types of organisms, but between 10 and 50 million species are thought to exist on Earth.
Twenty-five percent of Western medicines are derived from the rainforest. Photo: Tristan Schmurr
Who knows what substances or capabilities some of these species might possess that could help treat diseases and make human lives easier?
According to a study for the U.N., the continued loss of species could cost the world 18 percent of global economic output by 2050.
Already, a number of industries have been economically impacted by species loss. The collapse of bee populations has hurt many in the $50 billion-a-year global honey industry. Atlantic cod in the waters off of Newfoundland formed the basis of the local economy since the 15 th century — until overfishing the cod destroyed the livelihoods of local fishermen.
What you can do about extinction
Extinction is hard to see. We may not realize how much of the natural world has been lost because the “baseline” shifts with every generation. Past generations would regard what we see as natural today as terribly damaged, and what we see as damaged today, our children will view as natural.
Wooddell believes the most important thing one can do is to put pressure on Congress and elected leaders to create land management, pollution and other sustainable policies that will protect biodiversity and the environment. However, because it’s unlikely that these kinds of top-down policies will be instituted in the current political climate, she recommends mobilizing grassroots community groups to create “bottom-up” policies.
Here are some other things you can do to protect endangered species and prevent extinction:
- Eat less meat. Soybean production is one of the main causes of deforestation, and most soybean meal is used for animal feed.
- Buy organic food because organic farmers use only non-synthetic or natural pesticides on their crops. Synthetic pesticides may be toxic for other organisms.
- Choose sustainable seafood. The Marine Stewardship Council provides a list of certified sustainable fish for responsible eating. . In New York City, the compost is used for urban farming and gardening, which provide habitat for pollinators.
- Buy wood and paper products certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, to ensure they’re harvested from responsibly managed forests.
- Don’t buy products made from endangered or threatened species, such as tortoise shell, ivory, coral, some animal skins, and “traditional” medicines.
- Be aware of the source of palm oil used in countless food and cosmetic products. Many tropical forests are being razed for palm oil plantations. If a product contains palm oil, make sure it’s from a deforestation-free plantation. .
- If you have a garden, plant native shrubs and flowers that attract butterflies and other pollinators. Milkweed is particularly helpful for monarch butterflies.
- Diversify your diet. Eating these 50 foods will promote biodiversity and a healthier plant.
- Support and get involved with organizations that are helping endangered animals.
- Join the Center for Biological Diversity and use their Take-Action Toolboxes.
Correction: This post was updated on April 3, 2019 to remove a sentence about cownose rays devastating scallop populations off of North Carolina. It turns out that other studies have challenged those findings.
I was drawn to your summary because in one of my recent classes we touched on predation very briefly and I found that I wanted to know more. Your article presents an interesting angle of predation resulting in trophic collapse. I searched the web very briefly and found the article, “Could Predator Adaptation Be A Bad Thing?” (link can be found below), which references the same paper that your article, “The predator survives -- but the ecosystem crashes” referenced. In, “Could Predator Adaptation Be A Bad Thing?”, they support your statement that humans are the catalyst of predation adaptation. They mention that the reason Killer Whales changed their eating habits in the first place was due to the overexploitation of the major whale species that Killer Whales survived on.
If humans are the catalyst in a lot of instances, should we be more worried about changing our behaviour or in managing the fallout of our actions?
Also, how long have researchers watched this adaptive behaviour in nature? It could be possible that adaptive predators initially start a trophic collapse, but that over time competition between predators, whether adaptive or not, would reduce populations of predators. Thus, ecosystems would find/retain some form of equilibrium over time.
Predators' Populations May Crash Too
You raise valid arguments about the reasons behind the collapse of ecosystems and I agree, that as humans, we should be helping to protect biodiversity and should be changing our ways to prevent further species collapse. But I think that with the loss of prey species, this can result in the possible loss (or decline) of predator species as well. Certain predators may be out-completed in their quest for alternative prey due to other predators, which can lead to their demise. Or certain predators may only be able to eat certain prey species or might not know what alternatives they have when their go-to food source is gone.
Alternative view: Human repression
This was very interesting to read, I'd never heard of this theory before. Although there is of course a significant human role in this as we do undeniably contribute negative effects however as much as this is important to consider, I think it is just as critical to consider if is it our responsibility to try to manage this aspect. Or if this will pose even more adverse environmental damage and ultimately establish reliance on human technological solutions to continue with the false sustainability we create.
Although there is some man made aspects to this issue, there is also a completely natural survival instincts involved which is one of the core components to the natural system. If humans are to attempt to manage and control every process that has negative implications in the environment, the system will eventually be a simple construct of past human interventions and its balance a myth of man made ideas of sustainability.
Although there is some obvious flaws in this theory I provide and it is very relative and situational which situations we should attempt to control and which should be left up to nature. The issue presented here is the essential theory of natural selection in evolution. Can we control the ways in which evolution works? What implications will this have on the future- and will it be worse than the alternative?
To many predators to little prey
This article has caught my attention mainly because of the certainty that there is in the title. The concept of many predators eating the same species of prey is a huge problem considering we are taking away the other sources of food that was available to the predators. For example if everyone in the world are horses and that was the only food we could eat that animal would be nearly extinct . Another view I have is that species like polar bears who are losing there habitat and during be used of it is causing more imbalances to the food chain since polar bears eat a certain food . Because predators like the polar bear are becoming extinct it causes more animals like seals to populate even more since there aren't as many predators controlling the population of seals. Moreover, cause and effect is a major concept in the way the ecosystem works and everything has a purpose so if every action has a consequence I believe we need to pay more attention as humans and realize what we are causing to happen in regards to the ecosystem. As the title stands . to many predators to little prey .
Predators vs. Prey
Really interesting topic to choose! I love that analogy your professor mentioned, it helps to put it in perspective like that.
I believe that this cycle is how ecosystems work. There is constant evolution and adaptation of prey and predators, avoiding and catching up to each other. The killer whales haven’t made the calves extinct, so when they move onto a different species to eat, the calves can regrow their population to a more sustainable size they cycle will continue. A species may not be able to move onto a different prey, so the predator may have a population decline as well.
An important factor to species depletion is not necessarily predators versus prey, but climate change…this is where I believe humans come into play most predominately. This is because we are indirectly (sometimes directly) changing their habitats and ecosystems. Some animals need to migrate in order to survive, creating a chain reaction to the other animals who may be dependent on the first animals. Others may not survive climate change, which will alter the food chain in search for new prey and an abundance of old prey with no predators anymore.
20. Saolas are a rarely-seen, critically endangered mammal threatened primarily by hunting, specifically from commercial poaching.
Found in Vietnam, saolas are an unusual cattle relative that most people never see. In fact, scientists have only seen saolas in the wild four times. Their main threat stems from commercial poaching in addition to some habitat loss. Poachers will set up thousands of wire cables, and the saolas are unable to free themselves. Although patrol teams have removed hundreds of thousands of wires, committed poachers continue to reset them.
[Image via thetimes.co.uk] Both male and female saolas have two parallel horns on their heads with white markings on their face. They are also indirectly threatened by insufficient attention to the conservation of their habitat. The continued fragmentation of their habitat is a result of human activity, such as road-building. The saola tends to avoid humans they are solitary animals for the most part. Despite being related to livestock animals, saolas deal poorly with captivity and can only survive for a few months.
Did you know that the name for these foxes name comes from the famous scientist Charles Darwin? He discovered the species in 1834. LifeAdvancer
Management of Renewables
Potentially at least, populations of animals and plants, and their assemblages known as communities and ecosystems (such as a tract of forest), can be harvested in a sustainable manner &ndash that is, without depleting the size of the resource or its capability to renewal. Essentially, this is due to the fact that, within limits, bio-resources are able to regenerate after some of their biomass is harvested. As long as the rate of harvesting does not exceed that of regeneration, a bio-resource can be used in a sustainable way.
Ultimately, the upper limits of the productivity of an individual organism is limited by genetically determined factors that influence its fecundity, longevity, and growth rate. To reach that potential limit of productivity, an organism must experience optimal environmental conditions. In a collective sense, genetic factors also set a ceiling on the potential productivity of populations or organisms, as well as communities and larger ecosystems. However, in the real world it is typical that environmental conditions are not optimal, and so the actual (or realized) recruitment, growth, and maturation of individuals and biomass are less than their potential amounts. As a result, it is possible to increase the size of a harvest by the use of management practices that enhance the productivity of bio-resources. When these practices are used in a coordinated way, they are called a management system.
In general, the various management practices are designed to alleviate environmental constraints on productivity. This is done by mitigating factors that may be preventing some recruitment, or are causing mortality, or are constraining the rate of productivity. In addition, the selective breeding of individuals with desirable traits may be used to alleviate genetically based constraints to productivity &ndash ultimately, such genetic &ldquoimprovements&rdquo may result in domesticated varieties of crops.
In any case, however, the expression of many genetic factors is influenced by environmental conditions, various of which restrict productivity (Figure 12.1). Therefore, in the real world of ecosystems, the actual productivity of bio-resources is less than their potential.
Figure 12.1. Factors Affecting the Yield of a Biological Resource. The biomass and productivity of a bio-resource are determined by the recruitment of individuals into the population, their growth rates, and their mortality through either harvesting or natural means. These factors are affected by both genetically determined and environmental influences. Often, environmental and biological factors can be managed to increase the productivity and size of the stock of a bio-resource. Source: Modified from Begon et al. (2005).
If resource managers understand the nature of constraints on the productivity of bio-resources, and can devise ways to reduce those influences, then the yield of harvested products can be increased. In any truly sustainable system of resource management, those increases in yield must be obtained without degrading the capability of the resource for renewal (they cannot be obtained by over-harvesting the resource or by degrading environmental conditions). The most important practices that are used to increase the productivity of bio-resources are described below. (Note, however, that while these are commonly used methods of increasing the productivity of bio-resources, all management practices cause some degree of ecological damage, as is examined in later chapters.)
In all species, there is some degree of genetically based influence on biological attributes of individuals such as fecundity, longevity, and productivity. Plant and animal breeders deliberately select individuals that display traits that are considered desirable and use them in breeding programs intended to develop &ldquoimproved&rdquo varieties of crops. This is the basis by which all domesticated species used in agriculture were developed, and cultural selection is still an important way in which crop varieties are produced (see also Chapter 14). In addition, since the 1980s, new methods have been developed for transferring genetic information from one species to another &ndash these have been used to create so-called transgenic crops (see Environmental Issues 6.1).
Enhancement of Recruitment
The rate of recruitment of new individuals into an exploited population can be increased in various ways. Some commonly used methods are described below.
- Planting: In intensively managed agricultural, aquacultural, and forestry systems, managers may try to achieve an optimally spaced monoculture of the crop. This is done so that the productivity will not be limited by competition with non-crop species or by individuals of the crop growing too closely together. The recruitment of plant crops is often managed by sowing seeds under conditions that favour their germination and establishment, while optimizing density to minimize competition. Sometimes young plants are grown elsewhere and then out-planted, a practice that is used to cultivate paddy rice, develop fruit-tree orchards, and establish plantations in forestry.
- Regeneration of Perennial Crops: Some management systems encourage perennial crops to regenerate by re-sprouting from surviving rhizomes or stumps after the above-ground biomass is harvested. This regeneration system is used with sugar cane and with stands of ash, aspen, maple, and poplar in forestry. In some cases, the regenerating population may have to be thinned to optimize its density.
- Stock Enhancement: Recruitment of many fishes, particularly salmon and trout, is often enhanced by stripping wild animals or hatchery stock of their eggs and milt (sperm). The eggs are then fertilized under controlled conditions and incubated until they hatch. The larval fish (called fry) are cultivated until they reach a fingerling size, when they are released to suitable habitat to supplement the natural recruitment of wild fish.
- Site Preparation: Certain practices favour the recruitment of economically preferred tree species in forestry. For instance, some pines recruit well onto clear-cuts that have been site-prepared by burning, as long as a supply of seeds is available. Seedlings of other tree species establish readily onto exposed mineral soil and are favoured by mechanical scarification that exposes that substrate by disrupting the organic surface mat.
- Managing the Sex Ratio: Recruitment of some hunted animals can be maintained by allowing only adult males to be harvested. For example, most species of deer are polygynous (males breed with more than one female). Consequently, a hunt can be restricted to males, on the assumption that the surviving bucks will still be able to impregnate all of the females in the local population.
- Harvest Season: Recruitment of some animals can be managed by limiting the hunting season to a particular time of the year. For example, restricting the hunt of waterfowl to the autumn allows ducks and geese to breed during the spring and summer so that recruitment can occur. Hunting in the springtime interferes with that reproduction.
Enhancement of Growth Rate
As noted previously, the productivity of all plants and animals is constrained by environmental influences, which include inorganic factors such as nutrient availability and temperature and biological ones such as competition and disease. Often, management practices can be used to manipulate environmental conditions to reduce their limitation on growth rate, allowing an increased harvestable yield. Sometimes a management system is used, involving a variety of practices applied in a coordinated manner. Some examples follow.
- Agricultural Systems: In intensive agricultural systems, high-yield varieties of crops are grown and managed to optimize their productivity. The management practices typically combine some or all of the following: fertilizer addition to enhance nutrient availability, irrigation to reduce the effects of drought, tillage (ploughing) or herbicide use to decrease competition from weeds, fungicide use and other practices to control diseases, and insecticide use and other practices to lessen damage caused by insects and other pests.
- Forestry: The intensity of management used in forestry varies greatly, but crop-tree productivity can be increased through silvicultural practices such as thinning young stands to reduce competition among crop trees, using herbicide to control weeds, and using insecticide to cope with infestations of insects.
- Aquaculture: High-yield varieties of fish, crustaceans, or mollusks may be grown at high density in ponds or pens, where they are well fed and protected from diseases and parasites through the use of antibiotics and other chemicals.
Management of Mortality Rate
Mortality of juveniles and adults can seriously affect the sizes of plant and animal stocks. However, by thinning out the stock, mortality also influences the intensity of competition and that can increase the growth rate of survivors. Natural mortality can be caused by predation, disease, or disturbance, while harvesting mortality is associated with use by humans. Resource depletion occurs when the total rate of mortality (natural plus harvesting) exceeds the regenerative capability of the stock.
- Natural mortality associated with predators, parasites, diseases, and accidents can be decreased in various ways:
- Diseases, Parasites, and Herbivores: Mortality of crop plants caused by herbivorous insects may be managed by using insecticide or by changing the growth conditions to develop a habitat that is less favourable to the pest. Livestock are commonly affected by parasites, a problem that may also be reduced by using a pesticide. For example, sheep infested with ticks are dipped in chemical baths that kill the pests. Similarly, mortality caused by disease may be reduced by using medicines that treat the symptoms, by administering antibiotics to deal with bacterial infections, or by changing cultivation methods to decrease vulnerability. All such practices allow diseases, parasites, and herbivores to be controlled over the short term, but none are long-term solutions to these causes of productivity loss and mortality.
- Natural Predators: It is uncommon for coyote, wolf, cougar, or bears to be important predators of livestock, but many farmers still consider any losses to these species to be unacceptable. Some hunters feel the same way about mortality that natural predators cause to hunted wildlife, such as deer, moose, and caribou. Consequently, in many regions these large predators have been relentlessly persecuted by shooting, trapping, and poisoning. An alternative to killing the predators is to restrict their access to livestock using fences or guard animals such as dogs and donkeys.
- Technology: Equipment has a great influence on harvesting rate. Consider, for example, the various methods of catching fish, summarized in Figure 12.2. These technologies vary greatly in efficiency, which might be indicated by the amount of fish caught per-person fishing, per-unit of energy expended, or per-unit of investment in equipment. In general, much greater harvesting mortality is associated with the more intensive technologies, such as drift nets, trawls, and seines, compared with simpler methods such as hand-lines. The more efficient methods may also have a much greater by-catch of species that are not the target of the fishery and are often thrown away. Similarly, a hunter armed with a rifle is more efficient than one using a bow-and-arrow, and trees can be harvested more quickly using a feller-buncher than a chainsaw or an axe. (A feller-buncher is a large machine that cuts and de-limbs trees and then stacks the logs into piles.). Figure 12.2. Fishing Technologies. Methods of catching fish vary enormously in their efficiency and in the associated harvesting mortality. (a) Line methods range from hand-lines with one or more hooks, to floating or bottom long-lines that extend for kilometers and have thousands of hooks. (b) A gill-net can be set on the bottom or attached to drifting buoys and can range up to tens of kilometers in length, catching fish and other animals as they try to swim through the mesh. (c) A trawl is an open, broad-mouthed net that is dragged along the bottom or through the water column, while a purse seine is positioned around a school of fish near the surface and then pulled shut with a bottom draw-line. Source: Freedman (2010).
- Selection of Species and Sizes: The great variation in selectivity of harvesting methods, with regards to both species and size, can be an important consideration in resource management. In a fishery, for example, a change in the net-mesh diameter influences the sizes of animals that are caught. Usually, it is advantageous to not harvest smaller individuals, which may not yet have bred and often have a smaller value-per-unit-weight than bigger animals. In forestry, size- or species-selective cutting might be used in preference to clear-cutting, perhaps to encourage regeneration of the most desirable tree species. Those methods also reduce environmental damage, by keeping the physical structure of the forest relatively intact. o Number of Harvesting Units: An obvious way to manage mortality associated with harvesting is to limit the number of units that are participating in a harvest. In a fishery, for example, the government could limit the number of fishers by issuing only a certain number of licenses. Usually, the kind of technology that the harvesters can use is also specified, such as the number of boats using a particular fishing gear. o Time Spent Harvesting: The harvesting effort is also influenced by the amount of time that each unit works. Often there is strong pressure on regulators to allow harvesting to occur for as long as possible, because of the great economic value of investments made in machinery and personnel. Even so, in some cases, the harvesting time is closely regulated. For example, certain herring fisheries in coastal waters of western North America are only allowed to operate for as little as several hours per year.
- fines for non-compliance, which decrease profit by raising costs
- taxes on more harmful harvesting methods, or subsidies on less harmful ones, which influence profit by increasing or reducing costs, respectively
- buyouts of inappropriate or excess harvesting capacity (either equipment or licenses), which increase profit for the remaining harvesters by improving their relative allocation
Maximum Sustainable Yield
Potentially, all management options (including selective breeding, enhancement of growth and recruitment rates, and management of mortality rate) can result in larger yields of bio-resources. However, the factors that influence the size and productivity of stocks of renewable resources are imperfectly understood. Consequently, the management systems advocated by resource scientists are also imperfect. Despite this caveat about uncertainty, enough is usually known about ecological factors affecting bio-resources to design harvesting and management systems that will not degrade the capability for renewal.
At the very least, precautionary levels of harvesting that are small enough to avoid over-exploiting the resource can be predicted, even though the harvest might be smaller than the potential maximum sustainable yield. It is not necessary that harvests of natural resources are as large as are potentially attainable. If resource managers cannot predict an accurate MSY, then it is ecologically prudent to harvest at a rate known to be smaller than the MSY, but that is clearly sustainable. Of course, such strategies result in smaller harvests and less short-term profit. These are, however, more than offset by the longer-term economic and ecological benefits of adopting prudent strategies of resource use.
Moreover, the regional economic benefits of smaller (but sustainable) harvests can be enhanced by taking steps to ensure that the manufactured outputs of resource-dependent industries focus more so on &ldquovalue-added&rdquo products. In forestry, for example, the export of raw logs might be prohibited, while local manufacturing of value-added products such as lumber, furniture, and violins would be encouraged. Similarly, a regional fishing industry might focus on the production and export of higher-valued products, such as prepared foods, rather than unprocessed fish. These kinds of integrations of resource harvesting and manufacturing can optimize the regional economic benefits of resource-based industries, while allowing smaller, sustainable harvests of the resource to take place.
Regrettably, non-sustainable rates of harvesting have been common in the real world of open, poorly regulated, bio-resource exploitation. This has happened even where so-called &ldquoscientific&rdquo management was being used. These facts become clear from the examples of resource degradation described in this chapter (and also in Chapters 14 and 26).
Human Impact on Bird Populations
Only dinosaurs can be extinct. At least, that’s what I thought when I was younger. Whenever I heard the word “extinct,” it was used to describe creatures that far predated humans.
It never occurred to me that entire species of animals have died out over the course of human history, and it especially didn’t occur to me that entire species of animals have died out because of humans throughout history. When I was five years old, I read a book called “I Wonder Why the Dodo is Dead.” This book taught me about an extinct animal called the dodo bird. The dodo bird was not a dinosaur, and it lived less than four hundred years ago, well after the dawn of humanity. This was a challenging concept for young me. My understanding of the word “extinct” began to shift.
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As I read more about the dodo, another shocking fact was revealed. The dodo bird went extinct because of people. As I grew older, I became more aware of the devastating impact the human race has had on the populations of many different animals. I came to realize that extinction is not a thing of the past. Species die out every day.
Bird species, in particular, have been greatly affected by human activity. Humans have caused the extinction of many different species of birds in the last several hundred years. In order to understand the impact that humans have had on bird populations, we will examine the specific causes of extinction for four different bird species that have disappeared since the sixteenth century. We will look at the demise of the dodo bird, the great auk, the passenger pigeon, and the po’o-uli. We will then examine the long term effects of bird extinction on the ecosystem. Before the sixteenth century, the dodo bird lived on the island of Mauritius with no natural predators (“Dodo Bird: an Extinct Species”).
In 1505, the Portuguese discovered the island, and it quickly became a common stop for ships that were involved in the spice trade (“Dodo Bird: an Extinct Species”). Though the Portuguese had discovered the home of the dodo bird, its existence would not be documented for nearly a century. The dodo bird was first described in Dutch explorer Wybrand Van Warwijck’s journal in 1598 (“History of the Dodo Bird”). How the bird came to be called a dodo is unclear, as Warwijck referred to it as a “walgyogel” (“History of the Dodo Bird”). Some believe it came from the Dutch word “dodoaars,” which describes a knot of feather, while others point to the Portuguese word “dodo,” which means fool (“History of the Dodo Bird”).
In the next 100 years, the Dutch set up penal colonies on Mauritius and introduced non-native species including pigs, rats, and monkeys to the island (“Dodo Bird: an Extinct Species”). Having evolved with no defense mechanisms to protect against predators, the dodo bird was an easy food source for Dutch colonists and the animals they introduced to the ecosystem. Overhunting and non-indigenous diseases decimated the dodo population, and in 1681, the last dodo bird was killed (“Dodo Bird: an Extinct Species”). The dodo bird was just one of many species to be extinguished by humans. While the last dodos were disappearing from Mauritius, another bird species was facing a similar struggle for survival on the European Atlantic coast.
The great auk was a large flightless bird built for swimming. It was clumsy on land, and easy to kill (Rabadi). The great auk was a valuable bird, used for oil, meat, and feathers (Rabadi). Hunting the great auk was a lucrative business, and by the mid 1500’s, the bird’s population was rapidly declining (“The Extinction of the Great Auk”). By 1794, the great auk had become quite rare, and the British government attempted to intervene. A law was made to ban the killing of the great auk for its feathers (“The Extinction of the Great Auk”).
This attempt to save the great auk came too late, though. The law did little to stop the killing, and the bird’s increasing rarity only served to make it more valuable. In 1840, one of the few remaining great auks was captured by three Scottish sailors on a sea stack called Stac-An-Armin (Galasso). On the journey home, the sailors ran across a terrible storm. The superstitious men blamed the storm on the great auk, and four days after its abduction, the bird was stoned to death for witchcraft (Galasso).
A great auk would never again be seen on the British Isles. The last pair of great auks lived on Eldey Island, off the coast of Iceland (Galasso). On July 3, 1844, Jon Brandsson, Sigurour Isleifsson, and Ketill Ketilsson, having been employed by a merchant, arrived on Eldey to capture the birds (“The Extinction of the Great Auk”). The great auks were caught and strangled, and in the commotion, Ketilsson stepped on the egg the pair was incubating, wiping out the species forever (“The Extinction of the Great Auk”). The actions of humans can eradicate even the most abundant bird species on the planet.
We learned this lesson with the extinction of the passenger pigeon. In 1833, famous naturalist John James Audubon described the passenger pigeon as the most numerous bird in North America (Biello). With an estimated population of over three billion, it’s likely that they were the most numerous birds not only in North America, but in the world (Biello). It took less than a century for the passenger pigeon’s population to plummet from three billion to zero. Like so many other species, the passenger pigeon was a victim of excessive hunting.
The passenger pigeon was a common source of meat in nineteenth century America, and its large flocks made it an easy target for commercial hunting. In 1850, thousands of people were working in the passenger pigeon industry (“Passenger Pigeon: an Extinct Species”). Killing for commercial purposes was increased by railroads, which made it possible to transport fresh meat across the country (“Passenger Pigeon: an Extinct Species”). The pigeons were slaughtered at an impressive rate. It is recorded that in 1855, one New York plant was processing eighteen thousand pigeons every day (“Passenger Pigeon: an Extinct Species”).
The pigeon population also suffered due to loss of habitat. European settlers destroyed many of North America’s forests in the 19th century, robbing the passenger pigeons of their home and their breeding grounds (Biello). In 1880, the remaining passenger pigeons were spread across the country in flocks too small to stimulate breeding behaviors or compete with other species for nesting grounds (“Passenger Pigeon: an Extinct Species”). The passenger pigeon was not able to recover from their massive dip in population, and by 1900, they could no longer be found in the wild (“Passenger Pigeon: an Extinct Species”). The last known passenger pigeon, a female named Martha, was kept at the Cincinnati Zoo (“Billions to None.
.. the Extinction of the Passenger Pigeon”). On the first of September in 1914, Martha died (“Billions to None..
. the Extinction of the Passenger Pigeon”). Martha’s body was skinned and mounted. It now sits in the archives of the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D. C. (“Martha, a Passenger Pigeon”).
Though humans have made great strides in the field of conservation, we are still causing species to disappear in the modern era. The po’o-uli, or black-faced honeycreeper, is a bird that lives on the island of Maui. Though there are no known living birds of this species, it is not technically extinct. The po’o-uli is classified as critically endangered, because the last sighting was recent enough that scientists can’t be sure that they’ve been completely wiped out (“Po’o-uli or Black-faced Honeycreeper”). University students discovered the po’o-uli in 1973 (“Po’o-uli or Black-faced Honeycreeper”).
At the time, there were 76 birds per kilometer (“Po’o-uli or Black-faced Honeycreeper”. The po’o-uli population was on the decline due to loss of food sources and habitat through deforestation, and the introduction of non-native predators by humans (“Po’o-uli or Black-faced Honeycreeper”). The po’o-uli became prey for pigs, rats, and cats. In 1981, there were 15 po’o-uli per kilometer (“Po’o-uli or Black-faced Honeycreeper”). In 1985, there were 8 po’o-uli per kilometer (“Po’o-uli or Black-faced Honeycreeper”). In 1997, there were only 3 known members of the species in existence (“Po’o-uli or Black-faced Honeycreeper”).
In September of 2004, one of the three birds was captured by biologists in an attempt to save the species. He died on November 26, 2004, before biologists could find him a mate (“Po’o-uli or Black-faced Honeycreeper”). The two remaining birds have not been seen since 2004 (“Po’o-uli or Black-faced Honeycreeper”). The po’o-uli is likely extinct, but it will not be listed as such until the extinction is proved beyond reasonable doubt. Birds are an important part of the natural world, and the disappearance of any bird species has the potential to disrupt the ecosystem.
Birds play large roles in pollination and seed dispersal for most trees (“Birds’ Role in Ecosystems”). If birds continue to go extinct at such an alarming rate, tree populations will suffer. Without birds to carry seeds from place to place, new trees will not be able to grow. Without birds to assist in pollination, trees will not be able to produce fruit. Bird extinction has major consequences on forest regeneration, and this is a problem that affects humans directly (“Birds’ Role in Ecosystems”).
Forests provide humans with countless natural resources. Forests are a source of food, lumber, and medicine. Forests help prevent erosion and natural disasters like flooding. Forests create oxygen for people to breathe. Humans rely on forests for survival. Forests could not exist without birds.
Extinction is not a thing of the past. Extinction is our present. Through overhunting, destruction of habitats, and the introduction of non-indigenous predators to new regions,humans have caused the extinction of the dodo bird, the great auk, the passenger pigeon, the po’o-uli, and many more. Since 1500, 136 bird species have gone extinct, and 14 bird species that are likely extinct have been classified as critically endangered (“Data Zone”). Humans have stamped many creatures out of existence, but they also have the power to stop the destruction. We humans need to start considering the consequences of our actions before we lose another irreplaceable species.
It’s time to rally behind the goal of conservation. It’s not too late to keep the birds we have left from going the way of the dodo.
Mounted skeleton of Teratornis merriami.
Common name Binomial name Former range Last record Causes Highland gomphothere Cuvieronius hyodon Northern and central Andes  9790 BCE Hunting?  Macrauchenia Macrauchenia patachonica Southwestern South America 9730-5320 BCE Hunting.  Patagonian panther Panthera onca mesembrina Patagonia 9705-9545 Undetermined.  Toronto subway deer Torontoceros hypnogeos Toronto, Canada 9690-9040 BCE Undetermined.  Western bison Bison occidentalis North America Eastern Siberia and Japan? 9590-9250 BCE  Possibly hybridization with ancient bison resulting in modern American bison.  Dwarf pronghorn Capromeryx minor Western United States and northern Mexico 9580-8860 BCE Undetermined.  Chinese cave hyena Crocuta crocuta ultima East Asia 9550 BCE (confirmed)
5850 BCE (unconfirmed)
Undetermined.  Shrub-ox Euceratherium collinum Southwestern North America 9550 BCE Undetermined.  American mountain deer Odocoileus lucasi Rocky Mountains 9550 BCE Hunting?  Stock's pronghorn Stockoceros sp. Mexico and Southwestern United States 9550 BCE Hunting?  Southeastern giant tortoise Hesperotestudo crassiscutata Southern United States c. 9515 BCE Undetermined.  Sardinian dhole Cynotherium sardous Corsica and Sardinia 9500-9300 BCE Undetermined.  Long-nosed peccary Mylohyus nasutus Eastern United States 9350 BCE
9050-7550 BCE (dubious) 
Habitat loss and competition with the American black bear.  Scelidothere Scelidotherium sp. Southern South America 9280-8900 BCE Hunting?  Jefferson's ground sloth Megalonyx jeffersonii North America 9190-8870 BCE Undetermined.  Flat-headed peccary Platygonus compressus North America 9170-9050 BCE  Possibly vegetation changes induced by climate change and competition with the American black bear.  Pygmy mammoth Mammuthus exilis Channel Islands of California, United States 9130-9030 BCE Undetermined.  Wilson's tortoise Hesperotestudo wilsoni Southwestern United States c. 9050 BCE Undetermined.  Ryukyu tortoise Manouria oyamai Ryukyu, Japan c. 9050 BCE Undetermined.  Cypriot genet Genetta plesictoides Cyprus 9050 BCE Undetermined.  Miyako roe deer Capreolus tokunagai Miyako Island, Ryukyu, Japan 9050-8050 BCE Undetermined.  Asphalt stork Ciconia maltha Americas 9050-8050 BCE Undetermined.  Miyako long-tailed rat Diplothrix miyakoensis Miyako Island, Ryukyu, Japan 9050-8050 BCE Undetermined.  Merriam's teratorn Teratornis merriami California, United States 9050-8050 BCE Undetermined. 
Mounted skeleton of a North American short-faced bear.
Common name Binomial name Former range Last record Causes North American short-faced bear Arctodus simus North America 8995-8845 BCE  Competition with the grizzly bear.  Mexican horse Equus conversidens North America 8965-8875 BCE 
7250-6750 BCE (dubious) 
Hunting.  Giant beaver Castoroides ohiensis North America 8960-8840 BCE Undetermined.  Schneider's duck Anas schneideri Converse County, Wyoming, United States 8800-8300 BCE Undetermined.  Large-billed blackbird Euphagus magnirostris North America 8800-8300 BCE Undetermined.  American lion Panthera atrox North America
Western South America?
8580-8260 BCE Undetermined.  Yukon horse Equus lambei Eastern Beringia 8550 BCE Undetermined.  Argentinian short-faced bear Arctotherium tarijense Argentina  8470-8320 BCE Undetermined.  Stag-moose Cervalces scotti Eastern United States 8430-8130 BCE Undetermined.  Woodland muskox Bootherium bombifrons North America 8420 BCE Undetermined.  Shasta ground sloth Nothrotheriops shastensis Southwestern United States 8350-7550 BCE  Hunting.  Giant Cape zebra Equus capensis Southern Africa 8340-3950 BCE Reduction of grasslands after the end of the Last Glacial Period.  Giant pika Ochotona whartoni Northern North America
8301-7190 BCE Undetermined.  Vero tapir Tapirus veroensis Southern United States 8200-7660 BCE  Hunting.  Harrington's mountain goat Oreamnos harringtoni Southern Rocky Mountains 8100 BCE  Hunting.  Little South American horse Hippidion saldiasi  Eastern South America  8059 BCE  Hunting.  South American palmate-antlered deer Morenelaphus brachyceros Temperate South America 8050-5845 BCE Undetermined. 
Tracing of paleo-American petroglyphs depicting two Columbian mammoths and an ancient bison.
Common name Binomial name Former range Last record Causes North American pampathere Holmesina septentrionalis Southeastern United States 7930 BCE Undetermined.  Catonyx Catonyx cuvieri Eastern South America 7830-7430 BCE Undetermined.   Panamerican ground sloth Eremotherium laurillardi  Southern United States to Brazil 7800-7740 BCE Undetermined.  Pampean giant armadillo Eutatus seguini Northern Argentina and Uruguay  7775-5845 BCE Undetermined.  North American sabertooth Smilodon fatalis Southern North America and northern South America 7615-7305 BCE Prey loss.  South American sabertooth Smilodon populator Eastern South America 7330-7030 BCE  Competition with human hunters.  American camel Camelops hesternus Western North America 7250-5330 BCE Hunting.  Scott's horse Equus scotti Western North America 7250-6750 BCE (dubious) 
900-720 BCE (dubious) 
Hunting? Chilean scelidodont Scelidodon chiliensis Western South America  7160-6760 BCE Undetermined.  Columbian mammoth Mammuthus columbi Northern Mexico, western and southern United States 7100-6300 BCE 
3095-2775 BCE (dubious)
Hunting.  Giant ghost-faced bat Mormoops magna Cuba 7043-6503 BCE Undetermined.  Greater Cuban nesophontes Nesophontes major Cuba 7043-6507 BCE Undetermined.  Cuban pauraque Siphonorhis daiquiri Cuba 7043-6507 BCE Undetermined. 
Mounted skeleton of Glyptodon asper.
Common name Binomial name Former range Last record Causes Long-legged llama Hemiauchenia macrocephala North and Central America 6833-6321 BCE Hunting.  Glossothere Glossotherium sp. South America 6810-6650 BCE  Hunting.  Lowland gomphothere Notiomastodon platensis South America  6810-6650 BCE  Hunting?  Mylodont Mylodon darwini Pampas and Patagonia 6689 BCE  Hunting.  Large South American horse Equus neogeus South America  6660-4880  Hunting.  Common glyptodont Glyptodon sp. Eastern South America 6660-4880 BCE (confirmed) 
5850-4350 BCE (unconfirmed)
2350 BCE (dubious)
Hunting.  Brazilian glyptodont Hoplophorus euphractus Eastern Brazil 6660-4880 BCE Undetermined.  Stout-legged llama Palaeolama mirifica North, Central, and South America 6660-4880 BCE  Hunting.  Eastern giant armadillo Propraopus sulcatus Eastern South America  6660-4880 BCE Undetermined.  Giant hartebeest Megalotragus priscus Southern Africa
6130-3950 BCE Reduction of grasslands after the end of the Last Glacial Period.  Dire wolf Aenocyon dirus North America and western South America 6050-5050 BCE  Competition with the gray wolf.  American mastodon Mammut americanum North America 6050-5050 BCE  Possibly habitat fragmentation as a result of climate change, and competition with the moose. 
Mounted skeleton of Megatherium.
Common name Binomial name Former range Last record Causes Kambuaya's triok Dactylopsila kambuayai New Guinea 5941-5596 BCE Undetermined.  New Guinea greater glider Petauroides ayamaruensis New Guinea 5941-5596 BCE Undetermined.  Bond's springbok Antidorcas bondi Southern Africa 5740-5500 BCE Reduction of grasslands after the end of the Last Glacial Period.  Sardinian giant deer Praemegaceros cazioti Corsica and Sardinia  5550 BCE Undetermined.  Unnamed South African caprine ?Makapania sp. South African mountains 5483-5221 BCE Reduction of grasslands after the end of the Last Glacial Period.  Ibiza rail Rallus eivissensis Ibiza, Spain 5295-4848 BCE Undetermined, but presumably a result of human colonization.  Ancient bison Bison antiquus North America 5271-5131 BCE  Possibly hibridization with western bison resulting in modern American bison.  Giant ground sloth Megatherium americanum Temperate South America and the Andes 5270-4310 BCE  Hunting. 
Tracings of male and female Irish elk cave art from Cougnac.
Common name Binomial name Former range Last record Causes Irish elk Megaloceros giganteus Europe and southern Siberia 4901-4831 BCE 
600-500 BCE (dubious)
Reduction of grasslands after the end of the Last Glacial Period, and possibly hunting.  North African horse Equus algericus Maghreb 4855-4733 BCE Aridification.  Majorcan giant dormouse Hypnomys morpheus Mallorca, Spain 4840-4690 BCE Possibly disease spread by introduced rodents.  Giant glyptodont Doedicurus clavicaudatus South American Pampas 4765-4445 BCE
3023-2809 BCE (dubious) 
Undetermined.  Algerian giant deer Megaceroides algericus Northern Maghreb 4691-4059 BCE Possibly habitat fragmentation.  Toxodont Toxodon platensis South America 4650-1450 BCE Undetermined.  North African aurochs Bos primigenius africanus North Africa c. 4000 BCE Aridification. Domestic descendants survive in captivity.  North African zebra Equus mauritanicus North Africa c. 4000 BCE Aridification. 
Tracing of a steppe bison painted in Altamira Cave.
Common name Binomial name Former range Last record Causes Steppe bison Bison priscus Northern Eurasia and North America 6950-6870 BCE (Eurasia) 
3628-3377 BCE (America) 
Hunting.  Kauaʻi mole duck Talpanas lippa Kaua'i, Hawaii, United States 3540-3355 BCE Undetermined.  Radofilao's sloth lemur Babakotia radofilai Northern coast of Madagascar 3340-2890 BCE Undetermined.  Smaller Cuban ground sloth Parocnus brownii Cuba 3290-2730 BCE  Hunting.  Giant long-horned buffalo Pelorovis antiquus North Africa south, east, and central Africa (Pleistocene) 3060-2470 BCE Aridification and competition with domestic cattle for water and pastures.  Sardinian shrew Asoriculus similis Sardinia, Italy 3050 BCE Undetermined.  Buka Island mosaic-tailed rat Melomys spechti Buka Island, Papua New Guinea 3050 BCE Undetermined.  Buka Island solomys Solomys spriggsarum Buka Island, Papua New Guinea 3050 BCE Undetermined.  Tilos dwarf elephant Palaeoloxodon tiliensis Tilos, Greece 3040-1840 BCE (confirmed)
c. 1470-1445 BCE (unconfirmed)
Undetermined.  Balearic giant shrew Nesiotites hidalgo Gymnesian Islands, Spain 3030-2690 BCE Possibly disease spread by introduced rodents. 
Representation of the Egyptian god Bennu, allegedly inspired by the Bennu heron.
Common name Binomial name Former range Last record Causes Balearic cave goat Myotragus balearicus Gymnesian Islands, Spain 2830-2470 BCE Likely vegetation changes related to aridification or human activity.   Bennu heron Ardea bennuides Arabian Peninsula 2550 BCE Wetland degradation.  Niue night heron Nycticorax kalavikai Niue 2550-1550 BCE Undetermined.  Hispaniola monkey Antillothrix bernensis Hispaniola 2508-2116 BCE Undetermined.  Small Hispaniola ground sloth Neocnus comes Hispaniola 2483-2399 BCE Undetermined.  Larger Cuban ground sloth Megalocnus rodens Cuba 2280-2240 BCE Undetermined.  Chatham raven Corvus moriorum Chatham Islands, New Zealand 2134-1408 BCE (confirmed)
c. 1350 CE (unconfirmed)
Woolly mammoth cave art from Grotte de Rouff, depicting it alongside extant Alpine ibexes.
Common name Binomial name Former range Last record Causes New Caledonian terrestrial crocodile Mekosuchus inexpectatus New Caledonia and Isle of Pines 1950-1050 BCE (confirmed)
140-180 CE (unconfirmed)
Hunting.  Sumba Island giant rat Raksasamys tikusbesar Sumba Island, Indonesia 1935-1700 BCE Undetermined.  Indian aurochs Bos primigenius namadicus Indian Subcontinent 1800 BCE Undetermined. Domestic descendants survive in captivity and as feral populations.  Woolly mammoth Mammuthus primigenius Northern Eurasia and North America 7780-7660 BCE (Eurasia) 
6390-6270 BCE (America) 
3580-3480 BCE (Saint Paul) 
1795-1675 BCE (Wrangel) 
Hunting.  Short-horned water buffalo Bubalus mephistopheles South, central, and east China  1750-1650 BCE Undetermined.  Puerto Rican ground sloth Acratocnus odontrigonus Puerto Rico 1738-1500 BCE Undetermined.  Christensen's pademelon Thylogale christenseni New Guinea 1738-1385 BCE Undetermined.  New Caledonian giant megapode Sylviornis neocaledoniae Grande Terre and Isle of Pines, New Caledonia 1500 BCE Hunting.  Puerto Rican flower bat Phyllonycteris major Puerto Rico and Antigua c. 1500 BCE Undetermined.  Leeward Islands curlytail Leiocephalus cuneus Antigua and Barbuda c. 1500 BCE Undetermined.  European wild ass Equus hydruntinus Southern Europe and Southwest Asia Northern Europe (Pleistocene) 1294-1035 BCE (confirmed)
983 BCE - 635 CE (estimated)
Hunting and habitat fragmentation after the end of the Last Glacial Period.  Dune shearwater Puffinus holeae Canary Islands, Spain
mainland Portugal (Pleistocene)
1159-790 BCE Predation by introduced house mice.  Mona Island tortoise Chelonoidis monensis Mona Island of Puerto Rico c. 1050 BCE Undetermined.  Alor Island giant rat Alormys aplini Alor Island, Indonesia 1050 BCE Undetermined.  Hooijer's giant rat Hooijeromys nusantenggara Lesser Sunda Islands, Indonesia 1050 BCE Undetermined.  Vanuatu terrestrial crocodile Mekosuchus kalpokasi Efate, Vanuatu 1050 BCE Hunting.  Verhoeven's giant tree rat Papagomys theodoverhoeveni Flores, Indonesia 1050 BCE Undetermined. 
A Sardinian pika's mounted skeleton.
Common name Binomial name Former range Last record Causes Noble megapode Megavitiornis altirostris Fiji c. 950 BCE Hunting.  Fiji giant iguana Lapitiguana impensa Fiji c. 950 BCE Hunting.  Fiji terrestrial crocodile Volia athollandersoni Fiji c. 950 BCE Hunting.  Tongan tooth-billed pigeon Didunculus placopedetes Tonga 900-750 BCE Undetermined.  Balsam shrew Crocidura balsamifera Nile gallery forests, Egypt 821-171 BCE Habitat destruction.  Eurasian muskox Ovibos moschatus  Northern Eurasia 820-680 BCE Hunting.  The same species survived in North America and was reintroduced to Eurasia in the 20th century.  Vanuatu horned turtle ?Meiolania damelipi Vanuatu and Viti Levu, Fiji c. 810 BCE  Hunting.  Syrian elephant Elephas maximus asurus Mesopotamia 800-700 BCE Hunting and habitat loss due to agriculture and aridification. However, it's been suggested that it was introduced by humans in the area, which would not make it a valid subspecies.  MacPhee's shrew tenrec Microgale macpheei Southeastern Madagascar 790-410 BCE Aridification.  Jamaican ibis Xenicibis xympithecus Jamaica 787 BCE - 320 CE Undetermined.  Law's diving-goose Chendytes lawi Coastal California and Oregon, United States 770-400 BCE Hunting.  Consumed scrubfowl Megapodius alimentum Tonga and Fiji 760-660 BCE Hunting.  Kaua'i stilt-owl Grallistrix auceps Kaua'i, Hawaii, United States 744-202 BCE Undetermined.  Chatham coot Fulica chathamensis Chatham Islands, New Zealand 701-119 BCE (confirmed)
c. 1350 CE (unconfirmed)
Undetermined.  Large Tongan iguana Brachylophus gibbonsi Tonga 650-570 BCE Hunting.  David's imperial pigeon Ducula david Ouvéa Island, New Caledonia 550-50 BCE Undetermined.  Plate-toothed giant hutia Elasmodontomys obliquus Puerto Rico 511-407 BCE Undetermined.  Lena horse Equus lenensis Northern Siberia 440-280 BCE (confirmed)
701-900 CE (unconfirmed)
Hunting.  Gorilla lemur Archaeoindris fontoynontii Central Madagascar 412-199 BCE  Hunting.  Common koala lemur Megaladapis madagascariensis Madagascar 370-40 BCE  Hunting.  Corsican giant shrew Asoriculus corsicanus Corsica, France 348 BCE - 283 CE Introduced black rats and human-induced habitat loss.  Sardinian pika Prolagus sardus Corsica and Sardinia 348 BCE - 283 CE (confirmed) 
1774 CE (unconfirmed)
Hunting, predation and competition with introduced mammals.  Hensel's field mouse Rhagamys orthodon Corsica and Sardinia 348 BCE - 283 CE Introduced black rats and human-induced habitat loss.  Tyrrhenian vole Tyrrhenicola henseli Corsica and Sardinia 348 BCE - 283 CE Introduced black rats and human-induced habitat loss.  Maui flightless ibis Apteribis brevis Maui, Hawaii, United States 170 BCE - 370 CE Undetermined.  Ancient coua Coua primaeva Madagascar 110 BCE - 130 CE Undetermined.  Buhler's coryphomys Coryphomys buehleri Timor 50 BCE Undetermined.  Timor giant rat Coryphomys musseri Timor 50 BCE Undetermined.  São Miguel scops owl Otus frutuosoi São Miguel Island, Azores, Portugal 49 BCE - 125 CE Introduced predators? 
1st-5th century Edit
Ancient coin from Cyrene depicting a silphium stalk.
Common name Binomial name Former range Last record Causes Eyles's harrier Circus teauteensis New Zealand 1-1000 (confirmed) 
c. 1280 (unconfirmed) 
Undetermined. South Island goose Cnemiornis calcitrans South Island, New Zealand 1-1000 (confirmed) 
c. 1280 (unconfirmed) 
Undetermined. Silphium ?Ferula sp. Cyrenaica coast 54-68 Aridification, overgrazing, and overharvesting.  Powerful goshawk Accipiter efficax New Caledonia 86-428 Undetermined.  Gracile goshawk Accipiter quartus New Caledonia 86-428 Undetermined.  Kanaka pigeon Caloenas canacorum New Caledonia and Tonga 86-428 Undetermined.  Pile-builder megapode Megapodius molistructor New Caledonia and Tonga 86-428 Undetermined.  New Caledonian ground dove Pampusana longitarsus New Caledonia 86-428 Undetermined.  New Caledonian gallinule Porphyrio kukwiedei New Caledonia 86-428 (confirmed)
Undetermined.  Giant fossa Cryptoprocta spelaea Madagascar 210 Undetermined.  Ball-headed sloth lemur Mesopropithecus globiceps Southwestern Madagascar 245-429  Hunting and aridification.  Atlas wild ass Equus africanus atlanticus North Africa c. 300 Undetermined. Domestic descendants survive in captivity.  Marquesas cuckoo-dove Macropygia heana Nuku Hiva and Ua Huka, Marquesas Islands 300-1200 Undetermined.  New Ireland forest rat Rattus sanila New Ireland, Papua New Guinea 347-535 Undetermined.  North African elephant Loxodonta africana pharaoensis Northwest Africa 370  Hunting and aridification.  Southern Malagasy giant rat Hypogeomys australis Central and southern Madagascar 428-618 Undetermined.  Jamaican monkey Xenothrix mcgregori Jamaica 439-473 (confirmed)
Undetermined.  Oʻahu moa-nalo Thambetochen xanion Oahu, Hawaii, United States 440-639 Undetermined.  Large baboon lemur Hadropithecus stenognathus Central and southern Madagascar 444-772  Hunting and aridification.  Chatham duck Pachyanas chathamica Chatham Islands, New Zealand 448-657 (confirmed)
c. 1350 (unconfirmed)
Hunting?  New Caledonian horned turtle Meiolania mackayi New Caledonia c. 450 Hunting. 
6th-10th century Edit
Mounted skeleton of Grandidier's koala lemur.
Common name Binomial name Former range Last record Causes Cuban spectacled owl Pulsatrix arredondoi Cuba 530-590 Undetermined.  Malagasy shelduck Alopochen sirabensis Madagascar 530-860 Undetermined.  Monkey-like sloth lemur Mesopropithecus pithecoides Central Madagascar 570-679  Hunting and aridification.  Forsyth Major's baboon lemur Archaeolemur majori Madagascar 650-780  Hunting and aridification.  Lesser elephant bird Mullerornis modestus Central and southern Madagascar 650-890  Hunting and aridification.  Small O'ahu crake Porzana ziegleri Oahu, Hawaii, United States 650-869 Undetermined.  Cayman Islands geocapromys Geocapromys caymanensis Cayman Islands 666-857 Undetermined.  Cayman Islands nesophontes Nesophontes cingulus Cayman Islands 666-857 Undetermined.  Huahine starling Aplonis diluvialis Huahine, Society Islands, French Polynesia 700-1150 Undetermined.  Huahine gull Chroicocephalus utunui Huahine, Society Islands, French Polynesia 700-1150 Undetermined.  Huahine rail Gallirallus storrsolsoni Huahine, Society Islands, French Polynesia 700-1150 Undetermined.  Huahine cuckoo-dove Macropygia arevarevauupa Huahine, Society Islands, French Polynesia 700-1150 Undetermined.  Huahine swamphen Porphyrio mcnabi Huahine, Society Islands, French Polynesia 700-1150 Undetermined.  Southern giant ruffed lemur Pachylemur insignis Southwestern Madagascar 715-985  Hunting and aridification.  Cuban cave rail Nesotrochis picapicensis Cuba 760 Undetermined.  Insular cave rat Heteropsomys insulans Puerto Rico 772-870 Undetermined.  Sinoto's lorikeet Vini sinotoi Marquesas and Society Islands, French Polynesia 810-1025 Hunting.  Conquered lorikeet Vini vidivici Marquesas, Society, and Cook Islands 810-1025 Hunting.  Malagasy aardvark Plesiorycteropus madagascariensis Central and southern Madagascar 865-965 Undetermined.  Grandidier's giant tortoise Aldabrachelys grandidieri Madagascar c. 884  Hunting and aridification.  Giant aye-aye Daubentonia robusta Southern Madagascar 900-1150 Hunting, expansion of grasses and deforestation caused by domestic cattle and goat grazing.  Giant island deer mouse Peromyscus nesodytes Channel Islands of California, United States c. 950 Possibly habitat loss through overgrazing and erosion.  Grandidier's koala lemur Megaladapis grandidieri Madagascar 980-1170 Hunting and vegetation changes caused by livestock. 
11th-12th century Edit
A Malagasy pygmy hippopotamus skeleton compared to a common hippopotamus skull.
Common name Binomial name Former range Last record Causes Malagasy dwarf hippopotamus Hippopotamus lemerlei Southwestern Madagascar  c. 1000  Hunting, competition with, and changes to vegetation caused by livestock.  Malagasy pygmy hippopotamus Hippopotamus madagascariensis Northwestern and central Madagascar  c. 1000  Hunting, competition with, and changes to vegetation caused by livestock.  Henderson archaic pigeon Bountyphaps obsoleta Henderson Island, Pitcairn 1000-1600 Undetermined.  Henderson imperial pigeon Ducula harrisoni Henderson Island, Pitcairn 1000-1600 Undetermined.  Henderson ground dove Pampusana leonpascoi Henderson Island, Pitcairn 1000-1600 Undetermined.  Puerto Rican nesophontes Nesophontes edithae Puerto Rico 1015-1147 Undetermined.  Lava shearwater Puffinus olsoni Lanzarote and Fuerteventura, Canary Islands 1020-1260 Predation by introduced black rats and cats.  Elephant bird Aepyornis maximus Southern Madagascar 1040-1380 Hunting, competition with, and changes to vegetation caused by livestock.  Nēnē-nui Branta hylobadistes Oahu, Hawaii, United States 1046-1380 Undetermined.  Edwards' baboon lemur Archaeolemur edwardsi Central Madagascar  1047-1280  Hunting and changes to vegetation caused by livestock.  Maui Nui moa-nalo Thambetochen chauliodous Molokai and Maui, Hawaii, United States 1057-1375 Undetermined.  Maui stilt-owl Grallistrix erdmani Maui, Hawaii, United States 1057-1440 Undetermined.  New Zealand swan Cygnus sumnerensis New Zealand and the Chatham Islands 1059-1401 Hunting.  Tenerife giant rat Canariomys bravoi Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain 1100-1300 Hunting.  Abaco tortoise Chelonoidis alburyorum Abaco Islands, Bahamas c. 1170 Undetermined.  Barbuda giant rice rat Megalomys audreyae Barbuda 1173-1385 Undetermined.  Atalaye nesophontes Nesophontes hypomicrus Hispaniola 1175-1295 Undetermined.  New Zealand owlet-nightjar Aegotheles novaezealandiae New Zealand 1183 Predation by introduced polynesian rats. 
13th-14th century Edit
Skeletal mounts of various moa species (1868).
Common name Binomial name Former range Last record Causes Abrupt giant tortoise Aldabrachelys abrupta Madagascar c. 1200  Hunting and aridification.  South Island adzebill Aptornis defossor South Island, New Zealand 1234-1445 Undetermined.  St. Michel nesophontes Nesophontes paramicrus Hispaniola 1265-1400 Undetermined.  Lava mouse Malpaisomys insularis Lanzarote and Fuerteventura, Canary Islands 1270 Possibly disease spread by introduced rats.  Mantell's moa Pachyornis geranoides North Island, New Zealand 1278-1415 Hunting.  North Island giant moa Dinornis novaezelandiae North Island, New Zealand 1286-1390 Hunting.  Heavy-footed moa Pachyornis elephantopus Eastern South Island, New Zealand 1294-1438 Hunting.  Western Cuban nesophontes Nesophontes micrus Cuba 1295-1430 Undetermined.  Haitian nesophontes Nesophontes zamicrus Hispaniola 1295-1430 Undetermined.  Upland moa Megalapteryx didinus South Island, New Zealand 1300-1422 Hunting.  Edwards' koala lemur Megaladapis edwardsi Madagascar 1300-1430 Hunting and vegetation changes caused by livestock.  Bush moa Anomalopteryx didiformis New Zealand 1310-1420 Hunting.  Eastern moa Emeus crassus South Island, New Zealand 1320-1350 Hunting.  Haast's eagle Hieraaetus moorei South Island, New Zealand 1320-1350 Hunting?  Southern sloth lemur Palaeopropithecus ingens Southwestern Madagascar 1320-1630 Hunting and vegetation changes caused by livestock.  Hispaniola woodcock Scolopax brachycarpa Hispaniola 1320-1380 Undetermined.  Waitaha penguin Megadyptes waitaha Coastal South Island, New Zealand 1347-1529 Hunting.  Scarlett's shearwater Puffinus spelaeus Western South Island, New Zealand 1350 Predation by polynesian rats.  Great ground dove Pampusana nui French Polynesia and Cook Islands 1390-1470 Undetermined.  Crested moa Pachyornis australis Subalpine South Island, New Zealand 1396-1442 Hunting. 
15th-16th century Edit
Taxidermied Falkland Island wolf, the closest relative of the South American Dusicyon avus (both extinct).
Common name Binomial name Former range Last record Declared extinct Causes Tenerife giant lizard Gallotia goliath Tenerife and La Palma, Canary Islands 1400-1500 Hunting.  Kauaʻi finch Telespiza persecutrix Kaua'i and Oahu, Hawaii, United States 1425-1660 Undetermined.  South Island giant moa Dinornis robustus South Island, New Zealand 1451-1952 
Hunting.  South American wolf Dusicyon avus Southern Cone 1454-1626 Possibly climate change, hunting, and competition with domestic dogs.  Broad-billed moa Euryapteryx curtus North, South, and Stewart Island of New Zealand 1464-1637 
Hunting.  Finsch's duck Chenonetta finschi New Zealand 1500-1600 2014 (IUCN) Hunting and predation by introduced polynesian rats.  Olson's petrel Bulweria bifax Saint Helena 1502 1988 (IUCN) Hunting and introduced predators?  Vespucci's giant rat Noronhomys vespucii Fernando de Noronha Island, Brazil 1503 2008 (IUCN) Undetermined.  Galápagos giant rat Megaoryzomys curioi Santa Cruz, Galápagos Islands, Ecuador 1520-1950  2008 (IUCN) Possibly introduced predators.  Puerto Rican hutia Isolobodon portoricensis Hispaniola and Gonâve
Introduced to Puerto Rico, Mona, and U.S. Virgin Islands
c. 1800 (unconfirmed)
1994-2008 (IUCN) Possibly predation by introduced black rats.  Cayman Islands hutia Capromys sp. Cayman Islands 1525-1625 
c. 1700 (estimated) 
Possibly hunting, introduced predators, and habitat loss caused by introduced ungulates.  Hispaniolan edible rat Brotomys voratus Hispaniola 1550-1670  1994 (IUCN) Introduced rats. 
17th century Edit
Depiction of a live dodo by Ustad Mansur, c. 1625.
Common name Binomial name Former range Last record Declared extinct Causes Bermuda saw-whet owl Aegolius gradyi Bermuda c. 1600 2014 (IUCN) Undetermined.  Hodgens's waterhen Tribonyx hodgenorum New Zealand 1600-1700 2014 (IUCN) Hunting and predation by Polynesian rats.  Bermuda night heron Nyctanassa carcinocatactes Bermuda 1610 2014 (IUCN) Possibly hunting and introduced predators.  Eurasian aurochs Bos primigenius primigenius Mid-latitude Eurasia 1627 2008 (IUCN) Hunting, competition with, and diseases from domestic cattle. Domestic descendants survive worldwide, including feral populations.  There are several ongoing projects to re-breed wild-type aurochs and release them into the wild. Ascension crake Mundia elpenor Ascension Island 1656 1988 (IUCN) Possibly introduction of rats and cats, although it is not attested by the time they arrived in the 18th and 19th centuries.  Dodo Raphus cucullatus Mauritius, Mascarene Islands 1662 (confirmed)
1688 (unconfirmed) 
1988 (IUCN) Hunting.  Larger malagasy hippopotamus Hippopotamus laloumena Eastern Madagascar 1670-1950 (confirmed) 
Increased human and cattle pressure after the introduction of prickly pear farming.  Its specific separation from the common hippopotamus has been questioned.  Réunion sheldgoose Alopochen kervazoi Réunion, Mascarene Islands 1671-1672 1710
Hunting and habitat destruction.  Réunion kestrel Falco duboisi Réunion 1671-1672 2004 (IUCN) Undetermined.  Réunion fody Foudia delloni Réunion c. 1672 2016 (IUCN) Probably predation by introduced rats.  Broad-billed parrot Lophopsittacus mauritianus Mauritius 1673-1675 1693
Hunting.  Réunion rail Dryolimnas augusti Réunion 1674 2014 (IUCN) Probably hunting and introduced rats and cats.  Réunion pigeon Nesoenas duboisi Réunion 1674 1988 (IUCN) Probably introduced rats and cats.  Réunion night heron Nycticorax duboisi Réunion 1674 1988 (IUCN) Hunting.  Giant vampire bat Desmodus draculae Eastern South America
Central America (Pleistocene) 
1675-1755 Undetermined.  Mauritius sheldgoose Alopochen mauritiana Mauritius 1693 1698
Hunting.  Red rail Aphanapteryx bonasia Mauritius 1693 1988 (IUCN) Hunting and predation by introduced cats.  Mascarene coot Fulica newtonii Mauritius and Réunion 1672 (Réunion)
1988 (IUCN) Hunting.  Mauritius night heron Nycticorax mauritianus Mauritius 1693 1988 (IUCN) Probably hunting.  Mascarene teal Anas theodori Mauritius Réunion? 1696 1988 (IUCN) Hunting. 
18th century Edit
Drawing of Steller's sea cow by Sven Larsson Waxell (1742).
Common name Binomial name Former range Last record Declared extinct Causes Guadeloupe parakeet Psittacara labati Guadeloupe 1724 1988 (IUCN) Probably hunting.  Rodrigues rail Erythromachus leguati Rodrigues, Mascarene Islands 1726 1988 (IUCN) Hunting.  Rodrigues owl Mascarenotus murivorus Rodrigues 1726 1988 (IUCN) Probably hunting, deforestation, and predation by introduced animals.  Rodrigues starling Necropsar rodericanus Rodrigues 1726 1761
Undetermined.  Rodrigues pigeon Nesoenas rodericanus Rodrigues 1726 1988 (IUCN) Probably predation by introduced black rats.  Rodrigues night heron Nycticorax megacephalus Rodrigues 1726 1761
Hunting.  Réunion swamphen Porphyrio caerulescens Réunion, Mascarene Islands c. 1730 1988 (IUCN) Hunting.  Saddle-backed Mauritius giant tortoise Cylindraspis inepta Mauritius c. 1735  1994 (IUCN) Possibly hunting and introduced predators and competitors.  Domed Mauritius giant tortoise Cylindraspis triserrata Mauritius c. 1735  1994 (IUCN) Possibly hunting and introduced predators and competitors.  Corynanthe brachythyrsus Cameroon 1746 1998 (IUCN) Undetermined.  Atlantic gray whale Eschrichtius robustus North Atlantic and the Mediterranean 550 (Europe)
1760 (North America)
Whaling. The same species survives in the Pacific Ocean.  Rodrigues parrot Necropsittacus rodricanus Rodrigues 1761 1988 (IUCN) Hunting.  Rodrigues solitaire Pezophaps solitaria Rodrigues 1761 1778
Hunting and predation by introduced cats.  Steller's sea cow Hydrodamalis gigas Bering Sea Northern Pacific coasts from Japan to Baja California (Pleistocene) 1762-1763 1768
Hunting and reduction of kelp as a result of sea otter hunting, which caused proliferation of kelp-eating sea urchins.  Réunion ibis Threskiornis solitarius Réunion 1763 1988 (IUCN) Hunting.  Mauritius grey parrot Lophopsittacus bensoni Mauritius and Réunion 1764 1988 (IUCN) Hunting.  Raiatea parakeet Cyanoramphus ulietanus Raiatea, Society Islands, French Polynesia 1773 1988 (IUCN) Possibly deforestation, hunting, and predation by introduced species.  Tanna ground dove Alopecoenas ferrugineus Tanna, Vanuatu 1774 1988 (IUCN) Hunting?  Raiatea starling ?Aplonis ulietensis Raiatea, Society Islands, French Polynesia 1774 1850
Possibly predation by introduced rats.  Moorea sandpiper Prosobonia ellisi Moorea, Society Islands, French Polynesia 1777 1988 (IUCN) Predation by introduced rats.  Tahiti sandpiper Prosobonia leucoptera Tahiti, Society Islands, French Polynesia 1777 1988 (IUCN) Predation by introduced rats.  Martinique amazon Amazona martinicana Martinique 1779 1988 (IUCN) Probably hunting.  Guadeloupe amazon Amazona violacea Guadeloupe 1779 1988 (IUCN) Hunting.  Tahiti crake Zapornia nigra Tahiti, Society Islands, French Polynesia 1784 1988 (IUCN) Possibly introduced predators.  White swamphen Porphyrio albus Lord Howe Island, Australia 1790 1834
Hunting.  Oceanic eclectus parrot Eclectus infectus Tonga and Vanuatu Fiji? 1793 2014 (IUCN) Probably hunting and predation by introduced mammals.  Bluebuck Hippotragus leucophaeus Overberg
South Africa (Pleistocene)
1799-1800 1986 (IUCN)  Vegetation change and disruption of migration routes after the Last Glacial Period, competition with domestic cattle, overhunting, and further habitat loss due to agriculture. 
19th century Edit
Drawing of a spotted green pigeon by John Latham (1823).
Common name Binomial name Former range Last record Declared extinct Causes Domed Rodrigues giant tortoise Cylindraspis peltastes Rodrigues c. 1800  1994 (IUCN) Possibly hunting and introduced predators and competitors.  Saddle-backed Rodrigues giant tortoise Cylindraspis vosmaeri Rodrigues c. 1800  1994 (IUCN) Possibly hunting and introduced predators and competitors.  Kangaroo Island emu Dromaius baudinianus Kangaroo Island, Australia 1802 (confirmed)
Hunting.  King Island emu Dromaius minor King Island, Australia 1802 1805
Hunting.  Spotted green pigeon Caloenas maculata Tahiti, French Polynesia? 1823 (confirmed)
2008 (IUCN) Hunting?  Maupiti monarch Pomarea pomarea Maupiti, Society Islands, French Polynesia 1823 1988 (IUCN) Probably introduced species.  Mysterious starling Aplonis mavornata Mauke, Cook Islands 1825 1988 (IUCN) Predation by introduced brown rats.  ʻĀmaui Myadestes woahensis Oahu, Hawaii, United States 1825 1988 (IUCN) Possibly habitat destruction and introduced avian malaria.  Mauritius blue pigeon Alectroenas nitidissimus Mauritius 1826 (confirmed)
1837 (unconfirmed) 
1988 (IUCN) Hunting and deforestation.  Kosrae crake Zapornia monasa Kosrae, Micronesia 1827-1828 1988 (IUCN) Predation by introduced rats.  Kosrae starling Aplonis corvina Kosrae, Micronesia 1828 1880
Probably predation by introduced rats.  Bonin grosbeak Carpodacus ferreorostris Bonin Islands, Japan 1828 (confirmed)
Possibly deforestation and predation by introduced cats and rats.  Bonin thrush Zoothera terrestris Bonin Islands, Japan 1828 1889
Probably predation by introduced cats and rats.  Tonga ground skink Tachygyia microlepis Tonga c. 1829  1996 (IUCN) Habitat loss and predation by introduced dogs, pigs, and rats. 
Only drawing of a live hoopoe starling, by Paul Jossigny (c. 1770).
Common name Binomial name Former range Last record Declared extinct Causes Delalande's coua Coua delalandei Nosy Boraha, Madagascar 1834 1994 (IUCN) Deforestation.  Mascarene parrot Mascarinus mascarin Réunion, Mascarene Islands 1775 (wild)
1988 (IUCN) Hunting.  Atlas bear Ursus arctos crowtheri Northern Maghreb 1834  Possibly habitat fragmentation.  Two haplotypes are found in remains from the Vandal and Byzantine periods: one shared with Iberian bears that could have been introduced by humans, and another unique to Africa.  It is not known which type survived until more recent times. Oʻahu ʻakialoa Akialoa ellisana Oahu, Hawaii, United States 1837 (confirmed)
2016 (IUCN) Possibly habitat destruction and introduced disease.  Hoopoe starling Fregilupus varius Réunion, Mascarene Islands 1837 (confirmed)
1988 (IUCN) Possibly introduced disease, hunting, and habitat degradation.  Oʻahu ʻōʻō Moho apicalis Oahu, Hawaii, United States 1837 1988 (IUCN) Habitat loss and introduction of disease-carrying mosquitos.  Mauritius owl Mascarenotus sauzieri Mauritius, Mascarene Islands 1837 1859
Possibly deforestation, hunting, and predation by introduced mammals.  Oʻahu nukupuʻu Hemignathus lucidus Oahu, Hawaii, United States 1838-1841 (confirmed)
1890 Undetermined.  Large Samoan flying fox Pteropus coxi Samoan Islands 1839-1841 2020 (IUCN) Undetermined.  Réunion giant tortoise Cylindraspis indica Réunion, Mascarene Islands c. 1840  1994 (IUCN)  Undetermined. Dieffenbach's Rail Hypotaenidia dieffenbachii Chatham Islands, New Zealand 1840 1872
Possibly introduced predators and habitat loss from fire.  Black-fronted parakeet Cyanorhamphus zealandicus Tahiti, Society Islands, French Polynesia 1844 1988 (IUCN) Possibly deforestation, hunting, and predation by introduced species. 
Painting of great auks by John James Audubon (1827-1838).
Common name Binomial name Former range Last record Declared extinct Causes Daudin's giant tortoise Aldabrachelys gigantea daudinii Mahé, Seychelles c. 1850 Undetermined.  Floreana giant tortoise Chelonoidis niger Floreana, Galápagos Islands, Ecuador c. 1850  1996 (IUCN) Probably hunting and introduced species. Hybrid descendants of C. niger and C. becki survive in nearby Isabela Island.  Southern black rhinoceros Diceros bicornis bicornis Southwestern Africa c. 1850 Undetermined.  Christmas sandpiper Prosobonia cancellata Kiritimati, Kiribati c. 1850 2014 (IUCN) Probably predation by introduced cats and rats.  Turquoise-throated puffleg Eriocnemis godini Northern Ecuador 1850 (confirmed)
Habitat destruction.  Spectacled cormorant Phalacrocorax perspicillatus Commander Islands Kamchatka coast? 1850 1988 (IUCN) Hunting.  String tree Acalypha rubrinervis Central ridge of St Helena island 1850-1875 (captive) 1998 (IUCN) Undetermined.  Norfolk kaka Nestor productus Norfolk Island, Australia 1851 (captive) 1988 (IUCN) Hunting.  Great auk Pinguinus impennis North Atlantic and western Mediterranean 1852 1988 (IUCN) Hunting.  Small Samoan flying fox Pteropus allenorum Upolu, Samoa 1856 2020 (IUCN) Undetermined.  Gould's mouse Pseudomys gouldii Southern Australia 1856-1857 1990 (IUCN) Possibly predation by feral cats, habitat degradation by livestock, and changed fire regime.  Kioea Chaetoptila angustipluma Hawaii, United States 1859 1988 (IUCN) Possibly deforestation, hunting, and introduced predators.  Sea mink Neovison macrodon Atlantic coast of Canada and New England c. 1860 (confirmed)
2002 (IUCN) Hunting for the fur trade.  Gould's emerald Riccordia elegans Jamaica? 1860 1988 (IUCN) Undetermined.  Jamaican poorwill Siphonorhis americana Jamaica 1860 Predation by introduced black rats, brown rats, and small Indian mongooses.  Small Mauritian flying fox Pteropus subniger Mauritius and Réunion 1862 (confirmed)
1988 (IUCN) Hunting and deforestation.  Cuban macaw Ara tricolor Cuba and Juventud 1864 (confirmed)
2000 (IUCN) Hunting for food and the exotic pet trade.  Cape lion Panthera leo melanochaita Cape Province, South Africa 1865 Extermination campaign.  Genetics do not support subspecific differentiation between the Cape lion and living lions in Eastern Africa if placed in a single subspecies, it would be P. l. melanochaita because of being the older name.  Eastern elk Cervus canadensis canadensis Eastern North America 1867  1880  Hunting. It's been argued (based on genetic data) that most or all elk subspecies in North America are actually the same, which would be C. c. canadensis due to being named first.   Kawaihae hibiscadelphus Hibiscadelphus bombycinus Kawaihae, Hawaii, United States  1868  Undetermined.
Common name Binomial name Former range Last record Declared extinct Causes North Island snipe Coenocorypha barrierensis North Island, New Zealand 1870 2014 (IUCN) Predation by introduced Polynesian rats and feral cats.  Cape warthog Phacochoerus aethiopicus aethiopicus Cape Province, South Africa 1871 Undetermined.  Tasmanian emu Dromaius novaehollandiae diemenensis Tasmania, Australia 1845-1846 (wild) 
1873 (captive) 
Hunting. Tristan moorhen Gallinula nesiotis Tristan da Cunha 1873-1900 1988 (IUCN) Hunting, predation by introduced cats, rats, and pigs and habitat destruction by fire.  Samoan woodhen Pareudiastes pacificus Savai'i, Samoa 1873 (confirmed)
Hunting and predation by introduced cats, rats, pigs, and dogs.  Large Palau flying fox Pteropus pilosus Palau Before 1874 1988 (IUCN) Possibly hunting and habitat degradation.  Percy Island flying fox Pteropus brunneus Percy Islands, Australia 1874 1996 (IUCN) Possibly habitat loss.  Newton's parakeet Alexandrinus exsul Rodrigues, Mascarene Islands 1875 1988 (IUCN) Probably habitat loss and hunting. The last pairs may have been killed by the 1876 cyclone season.  Labrador duck Camptorhynchus labradorius Atlantic coast of Canada and New England 1875 (confirmed)
1878 (unconfirmed) 
1988 (IUCN) Hunting, egg harvesting, and habitat loss.  New Zealand quail Coturnix novaezelandiae New Zealand 1875 1988 (IUCN) Introduced diseases?  Broad-faced potoroo Potorous platyops Western Australia 1875 1982 (IUCN) Predation by feral cats and habitat loss.  Falkland Islands wolf Dusicyon australis Falkland Islands 1876 1986 (IUCN) Extermination campaign.  Himalayan quail Ophrysia superciliosa Uttarakhand, India 1876 (confirmed)
Hunting and habitat loss.  Brace's emerald Riccordia bracei New Providence, Bahamas 1877 1988 (IUCN) Undetermined.  Jamaican rice rat Oryzomys antillarum Jamaica 1877 2008 (IUCN) Competition with introduced rats,  or predation by introduced mongooses.  Navassa Island iguana Cyclura cornuta onchiopsis Navassa Island 1878 2011 (IUCN) Probably hunting.  Jamaican petrel Pterodroma caribbaea Jamaica Dominica and Guadeloupe? 1879 Hunting and predation by introduced rats, mongooses, pigs, and dogs.  Parras characodon Characodon garmani Southern Coahuila, Mexico 1880-1889?  1953 
Probably habitat loss.  Saint Lucia giant rice rat Megalomys luciae Saint Lucia c. 1881 1994 (IUCN) Predation by introduced mongooses.  Quagga Equus quagga quagga Cape Province, South Africa 1860-1865 (wild) 
1986 (IUCN) 
Hunting. Hawaiian rail Zapornia sandwichensis Eastern Hawai'i (and Molokai?), United States 1884 1988 (IUCN) Possibly hunting and predation by introduced rats, cats, and dogs.  Bennett's seaweed Vanvoorstia bennettiana Sydney Harbor, Australia 1886 2003 (IUCN) Habitat loss and pollution.  Hokkaido wolf Canis lupus hattai Hokkaido, Japan c. 1889 Extermination campaign.  [ better source needed ] Bonin wood pigeon Columba versicolor Bonin Islands, Japan 1889 1988 (IUCN) Deforestation and predation by introduced cats and rats.  Whiteline topminnow Fundulus albolineatus Huntsville, Alabama, United States 1889 Habitat destruction.  Eastern hare-wallaby Lagorchestes leporides Interior southeastern Australia 1889  1982 (IUCN) Possibly habitat loss due to livestock grazing and wildfires.  Sturdee's pipistrelle Pipistrellus sturdeei Haha-jima, Bonin Islands, Japan 1889 1994 (IUCN) Undetermined. 
Kauaʻi nukupuʻu by J. G. Keulemans (1893-1900).
Common name Binomial name Former range Last record Declared extinct Causes Portuguese ibex Capra pyrenaica lusitanica Portuguese-Galician border c. 1890  Hunting. New Caledonian rail Cabalus lafresnayanus New Caledonia 1890 (confirmed)
Probably predation by introduced dogs, cats, pigs, and rats.  Kauaʻi nukupuʻu Hemignathus hanapepe Kaua'i, Hawaii, United States 1890 (confirmed) 
Undetermined. New Zealand bittern Ixobrychus novaezelandiae New Zealand 1890-1899 1988 (IUCN) Undetermined.  Lesser koa finch Rhodacanthis flaviceps Hawai'i Island, Hawaii, United States 1891 1893
Undetermined.  Maui Nui ʻakialoa Akialoa lanaiensis Lana'i, Hawaii, United States 1892 2016 (IUCN) Possibly habitat destruction and introduced disease.  ʻUla-ʻai-hawane Ciridops anna Hawai'i Island, Hawaii, United States 1892 (confirmed)
1988 (IUCN) Undetermined.  Nendo tube-nosed fruit bat Nyctimene sanctacrucis Santa Cruz Islands, Solomon Islands 1892 (confirmed)
1994 (IUCN) Undetermined. Could be conspecific with the Island tube-nosed fruit bat.  St. Vincent pygmy rice rat Oligoryzomys victus St. Vincent 1892 2008 (IUCN) Probably predation by introduced brown rats, black rats, and mongooses.  Chatham fernbird Poodytes rufescens Chatham Islands, New Zealand 1892 1988 (IUCN) Possibly habitat loss and predation by introduced cats.  Chatham rail Cabalus modestus Chatham Islands, New Zealand 1893-1895 1988 (IUCN) Habitat destruction, predation and competition with introduced mammals.  Harelip sucker Lagochila lacera Southeastern United States 1893 Possibly water siltation and pollution.  Seychelles parakeet Psittacula wardi Seychelles 1893 1906
Hunting and habitat loss to agriculture.  Kona grosbeak Chloridops kona Lana'i, Hawaii, United States 1894 1988 (IUCN) Undetermined.  North Island takahē Porhyrio mantelli North Island, New Zealand 1894 2000 (IUCN) Climate-induced reduction of grasslands and hunting.  Hawkins's rail Diaphorapteryx hawkinsi Chatham Islands, New Zealand 1895 2005 (IUCN) Hunting.  Lyall's wren Traversia lyalli New Zealand 1895 1895
Habitat loss and predation by introduced cats.  Greater koa finch Rhodacanthis palmeri Hawai'i Island, Hawaii, United States 1896 1906
Possibly habitat destruction and introduced avian malaria.  Newfoundland wolf Canis lupus beothucus Newfoundland, Canada 1896 (confirmed) 
Hunting. Martinique giant rice rat Megalomys desmarestii Martinique 1897 (confirmed)
1994 (IUCN) Predation by introduced mongooses.  Nelson's rice rat Oryzomys nelsoni Central María Madre Island, Mexico 1897 1996 (IUCN) Competition with introduced black rats.  Hawaii mamo Drepanis pacifica Hawai'i Island, Hawaii, United States 1899 1988 (IUCN) Hunting, habitat destruction, and introduced disease. 
20th century Edit
Painting of pig-footed bandicoots by John Gould.
Common name Binomial name Former range Last record Declared extinct Causes Caucasian moose Alces alces caucasicus Northern Caucasus and Transcaucasian shore of the Black Sea  c. 1900 Hunting. The subspecies' validity is questioned because moose from Russia recolonized the Caucasian moose's former range naturally over the 20th century.  Saint Croix racer Borikenophis sanctaecrucis Saint Croix, United States Virgin Islands c. 1900 Undetermined.  Gravenche Coregonus hiemalis Lake Geneva c. 1900 2008 (IUCN) Eutrophication and overfishing.  Leafshell Epioblasma flexuosa Tennessee, Cumberland, and Ohio River systems, United States 1900  Undetermined. Southern pig-footed bandicoot Chaeropus ecaudatus Interior Australia 1901 (confirmed)
1982 (IUCN) Predation by feral cats and red foxes.  Tennessee riffleshell Epioblasma propinqua Tennessee, Cumberland, Wabash, and Ohio River systems, United States 1901  Undetermined. Greater ʻamakihi Viridonia sagittirostris Wailuku river, Hawai'i Island, United States 1901 1988 (IUCN) Habitat destruction for sugarcane agriculture.  Rocky Mountain locust Melanoplus spretus Rocky Mountains and North American Prairie 1902 2014 (IUCN)  Breeding habitat loss due to irrigation and cattle ranching. Auckland merganser Mergus australis South, Stewart, and Auckland Island, New Zealand 1902 1910
Hunting and predation by introduced animals.  North Island piopio Turnagra tanagra North Island, New Zealand 1902 (confirmed)
1988 (IUCN) Possibly habitat destruction, hunting, and predation by introduced cats and rats.  Guadalupe caracara Caracara lutosa Guadalupe Island, Mexico 1903 1988 (IUCN) Extermination campaign.  Stumptooth minnow Stypodon signifer Southern Coahuila, Mexico 1903 Habitat degradation and pollution.  Choiseul pigeon Microgoura meeki Choiseul, Solomon Islands 1904 1994 (IUCN) Predation by feral dogs and cats.  Japanese wolf Canis lupus hodophilax Honshū, Shikoku and Kyūshū, Japan 1905 (confirmed) 
1910-1996 (unconfirmed)  
Hunting and a rabies-like epidemic.  South Island piopio Turnagra capensis South Island, New Zealand 1905 (confirmed)
1988 (IUCN) Possibly habitat destruction and predation by introduced rats.  Chatham bellbird Anthornis melanocephala Chatham Islands, New Zealand 1906 1938
Possibly habitat destruction, predation by rats and cats, and overhunting by collectionists.  Black mamo Drepanis funerea Molokai and Maui, Hawaii, United States 1907 1988 (IUCN) Habitat destruction by introduced cattle and deer, and predation by introduced rats and mongooses.  Huia Heteralocha acutirostris North Island, New Zealand 1907 (confirmed) 
1963 (unconfirmed) 
1988 (IUCN) Hunting and deforestation of old growth forests to make pastures for livestock. Huia louse Rallicola extinctus North Island, New Zealand 1907? 1990 Extinction of its host.  Robust white-eye Zosterops strenuus Lord Howe Island, Australia 1908 1928
Predation by black rats.  Cumberland leafshell Epioblasma stewardsonii Tennessee and Coosa River systems, United States 1909  Undetermined. Tarpan Equus ferus ferus Europe 1879 (wild) 
Hunting and hybridization with domestic horses.
Depiction of juvenile, male, and female passenger pigeons, by Louis Agassiz Fuertes (1910).
Common name Binomial name Former range Last record Declared extinct Causes Maui hau kuahiwi Hibiscadelphus wilderianus Maui, Hawaii, United States 1910  1978 (IUCN) Undetermined.  Yellowfin cutthroat trout Oncorhynchus clarki macdonaldi Twin Lakes, Colorado, United States 1910 Hybridization with rainbow trout and competition with lake trout, both introduced.  Slender-billed grackle Quiscalus palustris Lerma River and Xochimilco, Mexico 1910 1988 (IUCN) Draining of marshlands.  Cape Verde giant skink Chioninia coctei Cape Verde 1912 (confirmed)
1996 (IUCN) Predation by feral cats.  Guadalupe storm petrel Oceanodroma macrodactyla Guadalupe Island, Mexico 1912 Predation by feral cats, and habitat degradation by goat grazing.  New Caledonian lorikeet Charmosyna diadema New Caledonia 1913 (confirmed)
1998 Undetermined.  Canary Islands oystercatcher Haematopus meadewaldoi Lanzarote and Fuerteventura, Spain Senegal? 1913 (confirmed)
Overharvesting of intertidal invertebrates.  Passenger pigeon Ectopistes migratorius Eastern North America 1901 (wild, confirmed) 
1902-1907 (unconfirmed)  
Hunting and habitat loss. Laughing owl Ninox albifacies New Zealand 1914 (confirmed)
1960 (unconfirmed) 
1988 (IUCN) Competition or predation by introduced stoats and cats.  Kenai Peninsula wolf Canis lupus alces Kenai Peninsula, Alaska c. 1915  Extermination campaign. Lord Howe starling Aplonis fusca hulliana Lord Howe Island, Australia 1918 1928
Predation by introduced black rats.  Bernard's wolf Canis lupus bernardi Banks Island, Canada 1918-1952  Undetermined. It's been suggested that Bernard's wolf should be merged with the extant arctic wolf  or other wolves from the continent.  Carolina parakeet Conorupsis carolinensis Eastern and central United States 1910 (wild)
1930s (wild, unconfirmed)
1988 (IUCN) Hunting, habitat loss, and competition with introduced bees.  Lānaʻi hookbill Dysmorodrepanis munroi Lana'i, Hawaii, United States 1918 1988 (IUCN) Habitat destruction for pineapple agriculture, and predation by introduced cats and rats. 
A paradise parrot photographed next to its burrow in 1922.
Common name Binomial name Former range Last record Declared extinct Causes Florida black wolf Canis rufus  floridanus Southeastern United States c. 1920 Hunting and habitat loss.  True fera Coregonus fera Lake Geneva 1920 2008 (IUCN) Eutrophication and overfishing.  Great Plains wolf Canis lupus nubilus North American prairie 1922  1926  Extermination campaign. The Great Plains wolf has been later determined to be continuous morphologically  and genetically  with the still existing Mexican wolf, which would use the name C. l. nubilus if placed in the same subspecies, due to being the older one. Red-moustached fruit dove Ptilinopus mercierii Marquesas, French Polynesia 1922 1994 (IUCN) Predation by introduced great horned owls, rats, and cats.  Norfolk Island starling Aplonis fusca fusca Norfolk Island, Australia 1923 1968
Undetermined.  Laysan honeycreeper Himatione fraithii Laysan, Hawaii, United States 1923 2016 (IUCN) Habitat destruction by introduced rabbits.  Round combshell Epioblasma personata Tennessee, Wabash, and Ohio River systems, United States 1924 Undetermined.  California grizzly bear Ursus arctos californicus California, United States 1924 Hunting.  Bubal hartebeest Alcelaphus buselaphus buselaphus North Africa and Southern Levant 1925 Hunting.  Anthony's woodrat Neotoma bryanti anthonyi Isla Todos Santos, Mexico 1926 2008 (IUCN) Predation by feral cats.  Thick-billed ground dove Alopecoenas salamonis Solomon Islands 1927 2005 (IUCN) Probably habitat destruction, hunting, and predation by introduced cats and rats.  Caucasian wisent Bison bonasus caucasicus Caucasus Mountains 1927  Hunting. Hybrid descendants exist in captivity, and have been reintroduced to the wild.  Snake River sucker Chasmistes muriei Snake River, United States 1927 Hybridization with the Utah sucker after dams changed the river's flow.  Syrian wild ass Equus hemionus hemippus Near East 1927 Hunting.  Cry pansy Viola cryana Cry, Yonne, France 1927 2011 (IUCN) Overcollection by botanists and limestone quarrying.  Utah Lake sculpin Cottus echinatus Utah Lake, Utah, United States 1928 Increased water pollution and salinity caused by agriculture, and introduced fishes. The last individuals may have been killed by drought in the 1930s.  Lord Howe gerygone Gerygone insularis Lord Howe Island, Australia 1928 1936
Predation by introduced rats.  Paradise parrot Psephotellus pulcherrimus Eastern Australia 1928 1994 (IUCN) Probably habitat degradation.  Acalypha wilderi Northwestern Rarotonga, Cook Islands 1929 2014 (IUCN) Deforestation for agriculture and housing development. Doubts exist about it being distinct from still living A. raivavensis and A. tubuaiensis if indeed the same, the older name A. wilderi prevails. 
"Benjamin", the last known thylacine, photographed in 1933.
Common name Binomial name Former range Last record Declared extinct Causes Tahiti rail Hypotaenidia pacifica Tahiti, Society Islands, French Polynesia 1930-1939 1988 (IUCN) Probably predation by introduced cats and rats.  St Kilda house mouse Mus musculus muralis St Kilda, Scotland 1930 Complete evacuation of St Kilda's human population, which it depended on.  Darwin's Galápagos mouse Nesoryzomys darwini Santa Cruz, Galápagos Islands, Ecuador 1930 Competition, predation, and exotic pathogens from introduced black rats.  Nuku Hiva monarch Pomarea nukuhivae Nuku Hiva, Marquesas Islands, French Polynesia 1930-1939 (confirmed)
Probably habitat destruction and predation by introduced species.  Silver trout Salvelinus agassizi Dublin Pond and Christine Lake, New Hampshire, United States 1930 Overfishing and introduction of exotic fish.  Bunker's woodrat Neotoma bryanti bunkeri Coronados Islands, Mexico 1931 2008 (IUCN) Depletion of food resources and predation by feral cats.  Heath hen Tympanuchus cupido cupido East Coast of the United States 1932 Hunting, predation by feral cats, wildfires, and histomoniasis transmitted by domestic poultry.   Hawaiʻi ʻōʻō Moho nobilis Lana'i, Hawaii, United States 1934 1988 (IUCN) Possibly habitat loss and disease.  Indefatigable Galápagos mouse Nesoryzomys indefessus Santa Cruz and Baltra, Galápagos Islands, Ecuador 1934 2008 (IUCN) Introduction of black rats.  Aguelmame Sidi Ali trout Salmo pallaryi Lake Aguelmame Sidi Ali, Morocco 1934  2006 (IUCN) Introduction of the common carp.  Desert rat-kangaroo Caloprymnus campestris Central Australia 1935 (confirmed)
1994 (IUCN) Predation by introduced red foxes and cats.  Mogollon mountain wolf Canis lupus mogollonensis Arizona, United States 1935  [ better source needed ] Hunting. The subspecific differences between extinct Great Plains wolf, Mogollon mountain wolf, Southern Rocky Mountain wolf, and surviving Mexican wolf have been denied on morphological grounds.  Southern Rocky Mountain wolf Canis lupus youngi Southern Rocky Mountains 1935  [ better source needed ] Ryukyu wood pigeon Columba jouyi Ryukyu, Japan 1936 1988 (IUCN) Undetermined.  Thylacine Thylacinus cynocephalus Australia and New Guinea 3050 BCE (New Guinea) 
1277-1229 BCE (Australia) 
1931 (Tasmania) 
1937-2000 (unconfirmed) 
1982 (IUCN)  Competition with humans and dingos, extermination campaign (in Tasmania). Bali tiger Panthera tigris balica Bali, Indonesia 1937 (confirmed) 
Hunting and habitat loss. Genetics do not support a subspecific differentiation with the living Sumatran tiger.  Marquesas swamphen Porphyrio paepae Hiva Oa and Tahuata, Marquesas, French Polynesia 1937 2014 (IUCN) Probably hunting and predation by rats and cats.  Pahranagat spinedace Lepidomeda altivelis Pahranagat Valley, Nevada, United States 1938 Competition and predation by introduced common carps, mosquitofish, and American bullfrogs.  Eastern cougar Puma concolor couguar Eastern North America 1938 (confirmed) 
2011  Hunting. Genetics do not support subspecies differentiation between the eastern cougar and living cougars in Florida and Western North America  if placed under a single subspecies, this would have the name P. c. couguar because of being older. Grass Valley speckled dace Rhynichthys osculus reliquus Lander County, Nevada, United States 1938 Introduction of the rainbow trout.  Schomburgk's deer Rucervus schomburgki Central Thailand 1932 (wild)
1994 (IUCN) Hunting.  Grand Cayman thrush Turdus ravidus Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands 1938 1965
Probably habitat loss.  Toolache wallaby Macropus greyi Southeastern Australia 1924 (wild, confirmed)
1943-1970s (wild, unconfirmed)
1982 (IUCN) Habitat loss to agriculture, hunting, and predation by introduced red fox. 
Laysan rail photographed in 1913.
Common name Binomial name Former range Last record Declared extinct Causes Sugarspoon Epioblasma arcaeformis Cumberland and Tennessee river systems, United States c. 1940 1983 (IUCN) Damming.  Lesser ʻakialoa Akialoa obscura Hawai'i Island, Hawaii, United States 1940 1994 (IUCN) Possibly deforestation and introduced disease-carrying mosquitos.  Cascade mountain wolf Canis lupus fuscus Continental Cascadia  1940  [ better source needed ] Hunting. Las Vegas dace Rhinichthys deaconi Las Vegas Valley, Nevada, United States 1940 1965 Habitat destruction.  Javan lapwing Vanellus macropterus Java, Indonesia 1940 Hunting and habitat loss to agriculture.  Arabian ostrich Struthio camelus syriacus Arabian Peninsula and the Near East c. 1941 (confirmed)
Hunting.  Texas gray wolf Canis lupus monstrabilis Texas, United States 1942  [ better source needed ] Hunting. The Texas gray wolf has been at times included within either the extinct Great Plains wolf or the living Mexican wolf on morphological grounds.  Barbary lion Panthera leo leo North Africa 1943 (confirmed) 
Habitat loss from desertification and human activities, followed by extermination campaign. Hybrid descendants are believed to exist in captivity.  However, genetics do not support subspecies differentiation with living wild lions in Asia, West and Central Africa,  which would be named P. l. leo if placed within a single subspecies. Desert bandicoot Perameles eremiana Central Australia 1943 (confirmed)
1982 (IUCN) Predation by cats and foxes, competition with European rabbits, and changes to the fire regime after the British colonization of Australia.  American ivory-billed woodpecker Campephilus principalis principalis Southern United States 1944 (confirmed) 
2008 (unconfirmed)  
Logging and hunting. Laysan rail Zapornia palmeri Laysan, Hawaii, United States 1944 1988 (IUCN) Habitat destruction by introduced rabbits and guinea pigs, and predation by introduced rats.  Wake Island rail Hypotaenidia wakensis Wake Island, United States 1945 1988 (IUCN) Hunting and destruction caused by fighting in World War II.  Ash Meadows killifish Empetrichthys merriami Ash Meadows, Nevada, United States 1948 Predation by introduced bullfrogs and red swamp crayfish.  Pink-headed duck Rhodonessa caryophyllacea Northeast India, Bangladesh, and northern Myanmar 1949 (confirmed)
Habitat loss to agriculture. 
Japanese sea lion drawn by Philipp Franz von Siebold (1823-1829).
Common name Binomial name Former range Last record Declared extinct Causes Little Swan Island hutia Geocapromys thoracatus Little Swan Island, Honduras c. 1950 1996 (IUCN) Introduced rats.  San Martín Island woodrat Neotoma bryanti martinensis Isla San Martín, Mexico 1950-1960 2008 (IUCN) Predation by feral cats.  Japanese sea lion Zalophus japonicus Japanese Islands and Korea 1951 (confirmed)
1994 (IUCN) Hunting.  Deepwater cisco Coregonus johannae Lakes Michigan and Huron 1952 1986 (IUCN) Overfishing, predation by introduced lampreys, and hybridization with more common ciscoes.  Caribbean monk seal Neomonachus tropicalis Caribbean Sea, Bahamas, and Gulf of Mexico 1952 (confirmed)
1962 (unconfirmed) 
Hunting.  Ilin Island cloudrunner Crateromys paulus Mindoro and Ilin Islands, Philippines 50 BCE (Mindoro) 
Deforestation?  Raycraft Ranch killifish Empetrichthys latos concavus Pahrump Valley, Nevada, United States 1953 Predation by introduced carps and bullfrogs.  Maravillas red shiner Cyprinella lutrensis blairi Maravillas Creek, Texas, United States 1954 1987 Introduction of plains killifish.  Plateau chub Evarra eigenmanni Chalco and Xochimilco-Tlahuac channels, Valley of Mexico 1954 1986 (IUCN) Habitat destruction and pollution.  Coosa elktoe Alasmidonta mccordi Coosa River, Alabama, United States 1956 2000 (IUCN) Impoundment of the Coosa River.  Imperial woodpecker Campephilus imperialis North-Central Mexico 1956 Hunting and habitat loss.  Levuana moth Levuana iridescens Viti Levu, Fiji 1956  1994 (IUCN)  Introduction of the parasitic fly Bessa remota by coconut farmers, as a form of biological pest control. It's been argued that L. iridescens was not actually native to Fiji and that lack of post-1956 records is the result of diminished enthomological research after Fiji's independence.  Crescent nail-tail wallaby Onychogalea lunata Western and central Australia 1956  1982 (IUCN) Predation by introduced foxes and feral cats, human-induced habitat degradation.  Thicktail chub Gila crassicauda California Central Valley and San Francisco Bay, United States 1957 Habitat destruction for agriculture and introduced fish.  Scioto madtom Noturus trautmani Big Darby Creek, Ohio, United States 1957 2013 (IUCN) Undetermined.  Hainan ormosia Ormosia howii Hainan and Guangdong, China 1957  1998 (IUCN) Possibly deforestation for agriculture.  Pahrump Ranch poolfish Empetrichthys latos pahrump Nye County, Nevada, United States 1958 Habitat destruction by excessive water pumping.  Blue Pike Stizostedion vitreum glaucum Lake Erie, Ontario, and Niagara River 1958 1983 Overfishing and hybridization with walleye.  Santa Barbara song sparrow Melospiza melodia graminea Santa Barbara Island, California, United States 1959 1983 Wildfire. 
Only kouprey seen outside Cambodia: a male at Vincennes Zoo, photographed in 1937.
Common name Binomial name Former range Last record Declared extinct Causes Lesser bilby Macrotis leucura Deserts of Australia c. 1960 1982 (IUCN) Probably predation by introduced cats and red foxes, and changes to the fire regime.  Candango mouse Juscelinomys candango Brasilia, Brazil 1960 2008 (IUCN) Urban sprawl.  Viesca mud turtle Kinosternon hirtipes megacephalum Southwestern Coahuila, Mexico 1961 Aridification.  Semper's warbler Leucopeza semperi St Lucia mountains 1961 (confirmed)
Predation by introduced Javan mongooses.  Durango shiner Notropis aulidion Tunal river, Durango, Mexico 1961 Pollution and introduced species.  Kākāwahie Paroreomyza flammea Molokai, Hawaii, United States 1961-1963 1979
Probably habitat destruction and introduced disease.  Red-bellied gracile opossum Cryptonanus ignitus Jujuy, Argentina 1962 2008 (IUCN) Habitat loss to agriculture and industry development.  Hawaii chaff flower Achyranthes atollensis The atolls Kure, Midway, Pearl and Hermes, and Laysan of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, United States 1964 2003 (IUCN) Habitat loss due to the construction of military installations.  South Island snipe Coenocorypha iredalei South and Stewart islands, New Zealand 1964 2014 (IUCN) Predation by introduced animals.  Lake Ontario kiyi Coregonus kiyi orientalis Lake Ontario 1964 Overfishing, introduction of exotic species, eutrophication, and water pollution.  Rio Grande bluntnose shiner Notropis simus simus Upper Rio Grande 1964 Possibly habitat degradation and introduced species.  Crested shelduck Tadorna cristata Primorye, Hokkaido, and Korea
Undetermined.  Turgid blossom Epioblasma turgidula Southern Appalachians and Cumberland Plateau, United States 1965 Damming and water pollution.  Independence Valley tui chub Gila bicolor isolata Warm Springs, Nevada, United States 1966 Predation by introduced species.  Narrow catspaw Epioblasma lenior Tennessee River system, United States 1967 Damming.  Saint Helena earwig Labidura herculeana Saint Helena 1967 Predation by introduced animals.  New Zealand greater short-tailed bat Mystacina robusta New Zealand 1967 1988 (IUCN) Predation by introduced Polynesian and black rats.  Amistad gambusia Gambusia amistadensis Goodenough Spring, Texas, United States 1968 1987 Flooding of the spring by the Amistad Reservoir, hybridization and predation.   Kauaʻi ʻakialoa Akialoa stejnegeri Kaua'i, Hawaii, United States 1969 2016 (IUCN) Possibly habitat destruction and introduced disease.  Blackfin cisco Coregonus nigripinnis Lakes Michigan and Huron 1969 Overfishing, predation by introduced sea lampreys, and hybridization with other ciscoes.  Tubercled blossom Epioblasma torulosa torulosa Tennessee and Ohio River systems, United States 1969 Impoundment, siltation, and pollution.  Kouprey Bos sauveli Northeastern Cambodia 1969-1970 (confirmed) 
1982-1983 (unconfirmed) 
A Caspian tiger photographed at the Berlin Zoo in 1899.
Common name Binomial name Former range Last record Declared extinct Causes Mexican dace Evarra bustamantei Xochimilco-Tlahuac channels, Valley of Mexico 1970 1986 (IUCN) Habitat destruction and pollution.  Endorheic chub Evarra tlahuacensis Lake Chalco, Valley of Mexico 1970 1986 (IUCN) Habitat destruction and pollution.  Saudi gazelle Gazella saudiya Arabian Peninsula 1970 2008 (IUCN) Hunting.  Clear Lake splittail Pogonichthys ciscoides Clear Lake and its tributaries, California, United States 1970 Habitat destruction and pollution from agriculture.  Acornshell Epioblasma haysiana Tennessee and Cumberland River systems, United States 1970-1979 Exposure to domestic sewage.  Tecopa pupfish Cyprinodon nevadensis calidae Tecopa Hot Springs, California, United States 1972 1982 Habitat degradation and introduced bluegill sunfish and mosquito fish.  Tropical acidweed Desmarestia tropica Galápagos Islands, Ecuador 1972 Undetermined.  Mason River myrtle Myrcia skeldingii Mason River, Jamaica 1972 1998 (IUCN) Undetermined.  Bushwren Xenicus longipes New Zealand 1972 1994 (IUCN) Probably introduced predators.  Bar-winged rail Hypotaenidia poeciloptera Fiji 1973 1994 (IUCN) Predation by introduced cats and mongooses.  Longjaw cisco Coregonus alpenae Lakes Michigan, Huron, and Erie 1975 1986 (IUCN) Overfishing, predation by introduced sea lampreys, and hybridization with introduced ciscoes.  Phantom shiner Notropis orca Rio Grande 1975 Possibly habitat loss, hybridization with the bluntnose shiner, and introduction of exotic fishes.  Mexican grizzly bear Ursus arctos nelsoni Aridoamerica 1976  Hunting. Colombian grebe Podiceps andinus Bogotá wetlands, Colombia 1977 1994 (IUCN) Habitat loss, pollution, hunting, and predation of chicks by introduced rainbow trout.  Eiao monarch Pomarea fluxa Eiao, Marquesas Islands, French Polynesia 1977 2006 (IUCN) Possibly predation by introduced cats, black rats, and Polynesian rats disease transmitted by introduced chestnut-breasted mannikin, and habitat loss due to grazing by sheep.  White-eyed river martin Eurochelidon sirintarae Central Thailand 1978 Hunting and habitat loss.  Little earth hutia Mesocapromys sanfelipensis Key Juan García, Cuba 1978 Hunting, man-made fires, and competition with black rats.  Japanese river otter Lutra lutra whiteleyi Japan 1979 2012 Hunting and habitat loss.  Caspian tiger Panthera tigris virgata Transcaucasia, Kurdistan, Hyrcania, Afghanistan, and Turkestan 1972 (wild, confirmed)
2007 (wild, unconfirmed)
Hunting and desertification.  Genetics do not support subspecific differentiation with extant mainland tigers.  Mount Glorious day frog Taudactylus diurnus Southeast Queensland, Australia 1979 2002 (IUCN) Undetermined. 
Male golden toad photographed before 1989.
Common name Binomial name Former range Last record Declared extinct Causes Maui nukupu'u Hemignathus affinis Maui, Hawaii, United States 1980  Undetermined. Olomaʻo Myadestes lanaiensis Maui, Lana'i, and Molokai, Hawaii 1980 (confirmed)
Disease and habitat degradation caused by introduced pigs, axis deer, and mosquitos.  Anabarilius macrolepis Yilong Lake, Yunnan, China 1981 2011 (IUCN) Drying of the lake for 20 days, after excessive water abstraction for agriculture.  Mariana mallard Anas platyrhynchos oustaleti Mariana Islands 1979 (wild)
1981 (captive) 
2004 Hunting and habitat loss to agriculture.  Yilong carp Cyprinus yilongensis Yilong Lake, Yunnan, China 1981 1996 (IUCN) Drying of the lake after excessive water abstraction for agriculture.  Puhielelu hibiscadelphus Hibiscadelphus crucibracteatus Lana'i, Hawaii, United States 1981 Predation by introduced axis deer.  Bishop's ʻōʻō Moho bishopi Molokai, Hawaii, United States 1981 2000 (IUCN) Habitat loss to agriculture and livestock grazing, followed by the introduction of black rats and disease-carrying mosquitos.  Southern gastric-brooding frog Rheobatrachus silus Southeast Queensland, Australia 1981 2002 (IUCN) Undetermined, possibly chytridiomycosis.  Galápagos damsel Azurina eupalama Galápagos Islands, Ecuador 1982-1983 1982-83 El Niño event.  San Marcos gambusia Gambusia georgei San Marcos spring and river, Texas, United States 1983 1990 Reduced flow and pollution from agriculture, introduced fishes and plants (Colocasia esculenta), and hybridization with Gambusia affinis.  24-rayed sunstar Heliaster solaris Galápagos Islands, Ecuador 1983 1982-83 El Niño event.  Guam flycatcher Myiagra freycineti Guam 1983 1994 (IUCN)
Predation by the introduced brown tree snake.  Formosan clouded leopard Neofelis nebulosa brachyura Taiwan 1983 (confirmed)
2013  [ better source needed ] Hunting. Subspecific status has been denied on morphological and genetic grounds.  Aldabra brush-warbler Nesillas aldabrana Malabar Island, Seychelles 1983 1994 (IUCN) Possibly predation by introduced cats and rats, and habitat degradation by goats and tortoises.  Atitlán grebe Podilymbus gigas Lake Atitlán, Guatemala 1983-1986 1994 (IUCN) Predation and competition with introduced largemouth bass, water level fall after the 1976 Guatemala earthquake, and degradation of breeding sites due to reed-cutting and tourism development.  Green blossom Epioblasma torulosa gubernaculum Tennessee River system, United States 1984 Impoundment, siltation, and pollution.  Javan tiger Panthera tigris sondaica Java, Indonesia 1984 1994 Hunting and habitat loss.  Genetics do not support subspecies differentiation with the extant Sumatran tiger if placed in the same subspecies, this would have the name P. t. sondaica due to being older.  California condor louse Colpocephalum californici North America c. 1985 Delousing of all surviving California condors as prerequisite for their captive breeding program.  Christmas Island shrew Crocidura trichura Christmas Island, Australia 1985 (confirmed)
Undetermined.  Kāmaʻo Myadestes myadestinus Kaua'i, Hawaii, United States 1985 (confirmed)
2004 (IUCN) Habitat loss and disease spread by introduced mosquitos.  Ua Pou monarch Pomarea mira Ua Pou, Marquesas, French Polynesia 1985 (confirmed)
Deforestation and predation by introduced black rats.  Northern gastric-brooding frog Rheobatrachus vitellinus Mid-eastern Queensland, Australia 1985 2002 (IUCN) Undetermined, possibly chytridiomycosis.  Alaotra grebe Tachybaptus rufolavatus Lake Alaotra, Madagascar 1985 (confirmed)
2010 (IUCN) Hunting, accidental capture in nylon gillnets, predation and competition with introduced largemouth bass, striped snakehead, and Tilapia habitat degradation from agriculture, and hybridization with the little grebe.  Zanzibar leopard Panthera pardus adersi Unguja Island, Tanzania 1986 (confirmed)
Extermination campaign.  The subspecies has been subsumed into the extant African leopard on morphological grounds.  Banff longnose dace Rhinichthys cataractae smithi Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada 1986 1987 Habitat degradation, competition and hybridization with introduced fishes.  Dusky seaside sparrow Ammospiza maritima nigrescens Merritt Island and the St. Johns River, Florida, United States 1980 (wild)
1990 Flooding and draining of marshes to reduce mosquito population.  Cuban ivory-billed woodpecker Campephilus principalis bairdii Cuba 1987 (confirmed)
Habitat loss.  Kauaʻi ʻōʻō Moho braccatus Kauaʻi, Hawaii, United States 1987 2000 (IUCN) Habitat loss and introduced black rats, pigs, and disease-carrying mosquitos. The last female was killed by Hurricane Iwa during the 1982-1983 El Niño event.  Bachman's warbler Vermivora bachmanii Southeastern United States and Cuba 1988  Habitat destruction from swampland draining and sugarcane agriculture.  Golden toad Incilius periglenes Monteverde, Costa Rica 1989 2020 (IUCN) Anthropogenic global warming, chytridiomycosis, and airborne pollution. 
Shell of Partula turgida.
Common name Binomial name Former range Last record Declared extinct Causes Barbary leopard Panthera pardus panthera Atlas Mountains 1996 Hunting.  The subspecies has been subsumed into the extant African leopard on morphological grounds.  Swollen Raiatea Tree Snail Partula turgida Raiatea, Society Islands, French Polynesia 1992 (wild)
1996 (IUCN) Predation by the introduced carnivorous snail Euglandina rosea.  Iberian lynx louse Felicola isidoroi Iberian Peninsula 1997 Undetermined. 
21st century Edit
"Qiqi", the last captive Chinese river dolphin, which died in 2002.
Common name Binomial name Former range Last record Declared extinct Causes Pyrenean ibex Capra pyrenaica pyrenaica Pyrenees 
Cantabrian Mountains? 
(briefly cloned in 2003)
2000 (IUCN)  Hunting, competition for pastures and diseases from exotic and domestic ungulates.   Glaucous macaw Anodorhynchus glaucus Border area of Argentina, Paraguay, Brazil, and Uruguay 2001 Deforestation for agriculture and livestock grazing, particularly of the Yatay palm in which it fed.  Polynesian tree snail Partula labrusca Raiatea, Society Islands, French Polynesia 1992 (wild)
2007 (IUCN) Predation by Euglandina rosea.  Saint Helena olive Nesiota elliptica Saint Helena 1994 (wild)
2003 (IUCN) Deforestation for fuel and timber, and use of the land for plantations of New Zealand flax, leading to inbreeding depression and fungal infections from reduced numbers.  Chinese paddlefish Psephurus gladius Yangtze and Yellow River basins, China 2003 2019 (IUCN)  Overfishing construction of the Gezhouba and Three Gorges dams, causing population fragmentation and blocking the anadromous spawning migration. Chinese river dolphin Lipotes vexillifer Middle and lower Yangtze, China 2002 (captive)
2007-2018 (wild, unconfirmed)
2007  Hunting, increased pollution and naval traffic, and habitat loss including as a result of the construction of the Three Gorges Dam. Po'ouli Melamprosops phaeosoma Eastern Maui, Hawaii, United States 2004 2019 (IUCN) Introduced avian malaria and predators.  Western black rhinoceros Diceros bicornis longipes South Sudan to Nigerian-Niger border area 2006 2011 (IUCN) Hunting.  South Island kōkako Callaeas cinereus South Island, New Zealand 2007 (confirmed)
Habitat destruction from logging and grazing ungulates, and predation by introduced black rats, brush-tailed possums, and stoats.  Bramble Cay melomys Melomys rubicola Bramble Cay, Australia 2009 2015 (IUCN)  Sea level rise as a consequence of global warming.  Christmas Island pipistrelle Pipistrellus murrayi Christmas Island, Australia 2009 2017 (IUCN) Undetermined. 
"Lonesome George", the last full-blooded Pinta Island tortoise, photographed in 2006.
What is endangered species?
Basically, “endangered” means that a species is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range.
Internationally, the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species is the most well-recognized catalog of threatened species. The list and ranking are prepared by the International Union for Conservation of Nature based on very specific criteria. Although the criteria is specific, the information it seeks is not usually as definable as finding and counting species is a problematic venture for many reasons.
Generally speaking, the criteria for “endangered status” are:
- a very significant reduction in population size of a large percentage over recent years
- a continuing decline
- a severely shrinking geographic range
Experts estimate that the extinction rate of animal species today is between 1,000 and 10,000 times higher than the natural extinction rate, that is what the extinction rate would be without human encroachment and activity  .
It is without doubt that human impact on animal extinction is significant.
What will lead to a species becoming endangered?
When there are very few animals left within a range where they can safely mate with other animals and raise offspring, and there is no habitat containing a large number of those same animals, their species is in danger of extinction.
Ecosystem Importance of Keystone Species
The importance of the keystone species is related to how they interact with other species of the ecosystem. Their presence in the ecological community is essential to maintain the populations of other species that interact with them.
This graph shows how important keystone species are to an Ecosystem. Although this is an experimental ecosystem, the idea can truly be applied on the field. As you can see removal of a single predator keystone led to severe loss of biodiversity in the ecosystem.
For example, if a keystone species was to be removed from the chain, the whole ecosystem would come tumbling down. It would trigger a trophic cascade! The elimination of one of the keystone species leads to multiple reactions in the environment as follows.
There will be overpopulation of prey species which were initially being eaten by keystone predator. Additionally, there will be endangerment of animals that used to depend on our keystone prey species for food.
These will look to find other sources of food and the single species they find will get endangered too.
While the loss in quantity of species of a remote ecosystem
may not be of much concern, the loss in biodiversity could have some long-term irreversible effects.
Now that you get what keystone species are and how important they are to maintaining biodiversity, let me show you a few examples of keystone animals and plants in our world. The article also shows you what effect keystone species have on our ecosystem.
What is the point of saving endangered species?
It will cost billions of dollars to save all the world's threatened species. What's in it for us?
In 1981, mountain gorillas were at rock-bottom. Confined to a small mountain range in central Africa, with humans encroaching on their habitat bringing poaching and civil war, their population was estimated at just 254. They would all have fitted into a single Boeing 747.
Today things look a little better. A survey in 2012 reported that the population was up to 880. That is a big improvement, but it's still only two Boeing 747s of mountain gorillas. They remain critically endangered.
We hear similar tales of woe all the time, from all around the world. Whether it's tigers, pandas, California condors or coral reefs, much of the world's wildlife is under threat. It's initially upsetting, and eventually just numbing.
Is it worth worrying about it all? Sure, it will be sad if there aren't any more cute pandas on the planet, but it's not like we depend on them. Besides, surely it's more important to take care of humans &ndash who, let's face it, have their own problems to worry about &ndash than to spend millions of dollars preserving animals. What, in short, is the point of conservation?
On the face of it, there are plenty of reasons why we shouldn't bother to save endangered species. The most obvious is the staggering cost involved.
One study in 2012 estimated that it would cost $76 billion (£49 billion) a year to preserve threatened land animals. Saving all the endangered marine species might well cost far more. Why should we spend all that money on wildlife when we could spend it to stop people dying of starvation or disease?
It can be particularly hard to understand why anyone would want to preserve animals like wolves, which pose a threat both to people and livestock. Surely there are some species we would be better off without.
Species go extinct all the time anyway. As well as individual species dying out, there have been five mass extinctions that obliterated swathes of species. The most recent one, 65 million years ago, took out the dinosaurs.
The extinction rate has increased a hundredfold over the last century
If extinction is a natural process that goes on even in the absence of humans, why should we stop it?
One answer is that species are now going extinct far faster than they used to. A recent study estimated that the extinction rate has increased a hundredfold over the last century, and we seem to be to blame.
But beyond that, there's a simple reason to save species: because we want to.
Many of us love the natural world. We think animals are cute, majestic, or just plain fascinating. We love walking in the dappled sunlight of an old forest, or scuba-diving over a coral reef. Who doesn't think mountain gorillas are awesome?
The fact that some of us find nature beautiful, by itself, won't do
Nature is beautiful, and that aesthetic value is a reason to keep it, just as we preserve artistic masterpieces like the Mona Lisa or Angkor Wat.
The first problem with this argument is that it spells doom for all those animals and plants that people are less fond of: the ugly, the smelly and the just plain obscure. If we don't find them appealing, they're out.
More fundamentally, it comes from a position of luxury and privilege. It's all very well for a moneyed person in the western world to want to preserve tigers because they're nice to look at, but that doesn't cut much ice with a villager in rural India whose family is in danger from one.
So the fact that some of us find nature beautiful, by itself, won't do. There needs to be a more practical reason to keep species around.
You often hear it said that we should keep ecosystems like rainforests because they probably contain useful things, in particular medicines. The classic challenge is "what if a plant goes extinct that could be the cure for cancer?"
What happens to all the species that don't make useful things like medicines?
The practice of exploring nature to find commercially useful products is called bioprospecting. It does sometimes lead to useful new things, but it comes with a host of problems.
The first is that we have plenty of ways to find new medicines, which don't involve trekking through thousands of miles of dangerous jungle in the faint hope of finding a miracle plant.
There is also the matter of who controls the knowledge. Often, local people are already aware of the medicinal uses of plants, and object to outsiders trying to co-opt them. Legal battles have been fought over this.
And again, what happens to all the species that don't make useful things like medicines? The blood of mountain gorillas is unlikely to contain a cure for cancer. So this argument, while it has some force, doesn't get us very far.
The big leap forward came in the 1990s, when biologists started outlining all the ways animals and plants benefit us just by being there. These benefits, which most of us take for granted, are called "ecosystem services".
Many of our crop plants rely on these insects to produce seeds
Some of these services are obvious. For instance, there are plants and animals that we eat. Meanwhile, photosynthetic plankton in the sea, and green plants, provide us with the oxygen we breathe.
These are quite direct, but sometimes the services provided can be more subtle. Pollinating insects like bumblebees are an obvious example.
Many of our crop plants rely on these insects to produce seeds, and would not survive &ndash let alone provide us with food &ndash without them. This is why the decline in pollinating insects has provoked so much concern.
To understand how much we rely on ecosystem services, imagine a world where humans are the only species &ndash perhaps in a spaceship far from Earth.
It is far easier to let the existing wildlife do them for us
There are no plants releasing oxygen, so you have to engineer a way to make it yourself. So straight away you need a chemical processing plant on board your ship. That same plant will have to make water too.
There is also nothing to eat, so you must artificially make food. You could synthesise chemicals like sugars and fats, but making it appetising would be extremely hard. As of 2015, we can't even make an artificial burger that everyone finds convincing.
Let's not even get started on the microorganisms living in your gut, many of which are beneficial. The point is that, while we could in theory do all these things artificially, it would be very difficult. It is far easier to let the existing wildlife do them for us.
The scale of these ecosystem services, when you add them up, turns out to be extraordinarily large.
In 1997, ecologist Robert Costanza and his colleagues estimated that the biosphere provides services worth around $33 trillion a year. For comparison, they noted that the entire global economy at the time produced around $18 trillion a year.
Unchecked species loss would wipe 18% off global economic output by 2050
Five years later, the team took the argument a step further by asking how much we would gain by conserving biodiversity. They concluded that the benefits would outweigh the costs by a factor of 100. In other words, conserving nature is a staggeringly good investment.
By contrast, letting species decline and go extinct looks like a bad move. A 2010 study concluded that unchecked species loss would wipe 18% off global economic output by 2050.
You may perhaps be feeling that all this talk of economics and growth is strange. It's all rather cold and heartless, without any of the love for the natural world that we were talking about earlier. Well, many environmentalists feel the same way.
The environmentalist journalist George Monbiot has been a particularly vocal critic.
Monbiot argues that the valuations are unreliable, which allows those in power to rig the accounting however they see fit. If someone wants to build a road through an important habitat, they can simply overestimate the benefits of the road and downplay those from the wildlife.
Many conservation groups now support putting a value on ecosystems
He may well be right that any such system would be open to abuse. The counter-argument is that without such a system, the abuse happens anyway &ndash which is why many conservation groups now support putting a value on ecosystems.
In fact, one of the good things about the idea of ecosystem services is that it is all-encompassing. As a result, the weaker arguments we mentioned before now start to make some sense.
Take the idea that nature is beautiful and we should preserve it for its aesthetics and wonder. Our pleasure at the beauty of nature can now be thought of as an ecosystem service. Nature provides us with beauty.
If we value something and are prepared to pay to have it, then it has value
You may well ask how we can put a price on that. How do you objectively measure beauty?
Well, you can't, but that doesn't stop us deciding what it's worth. We do it all the time with paintings, music and other forms of art. If we value something and are prepared to pay to have it, then it has value.
To do the same thing with nature, we just need a system that allows us to pay to experience it.
One simple example is safari holidays that take tourists to see mountain gorillas. This is called ecotourism.
Ecotourism offers a way to make the beauty of nature pay for itself
The people running those holidays have a clear incentive to keep the animals safe. The gorillas are their livelihood, and running these tours may well pay better than other occupations like farming.
Of course, this idea has its difficulties. Tourists bring unfamiliar diseases with them, which can pose a threat to the gorillas &ndash although facemasks can help. Too many visitors can also disrupt gorilla societies.
But in principle, ecotourism offers a way to make the beauty of nature pay for itself.
This sort of thinking turns our ideas about conservation on their heads, according to the conservation biologist Georgina Mace of University College London in the UK.
You don't have to care about mountain gorillas
Go back to the 1960s, and we were being told to preserve wildlife simply for its own sake. Mace calls this line of thinking "nature for itself".
Fast forward to the 2000s and we are now talking about "nature for people", thanks to the idea of ecosystem services. Even if you don't buy the moral argument that "wild things and places have incalculable intrinsic value", there are hard-nosed practical reasons to save them. You don't have to care about mountain gorillas to appreciate the value of a strong ecotourism industry.
Still, at first glance it does seem like the idea of ecosystem services should push us towards a rather selective approach to conservation. "Let's keep the things the tourists will go and see, and the things that pollinate our crops or otherwise make themselves useful, and the rest can go hang."
But there is another way of looking at it.
Let's consider the mountain gorillas. They live in a mountain range where the trees are covered with thick forests. If we want to preserve the gorillas, we also have to preserve the ecosystem they live in.
Some of this is obvious. The gorillas need plants to eat, so we must ensure those are there.
But we also can't let the area be overrun by inedible weeds. That in turn means keeping most of the other animals, as they will shape the plant community.
Maybe those gorillas aren't such a good investment after all
The mountain gorillas are part of a wider network of species, and it's difficult to separate them from it. Wiping out one of these species might not make much difference, or then again it might cause a chain reaction that alters the entire ecosystem. It's hard to predict the effect of killing off a species unless you go ahead and kill it &ndash and then it's too late to reverse it.
So if we decide to save the mountain gorillas, by extension we are also choosing to preserve the particular habitat they live in and the majority of the species that live alongside them.
At this point many people balk. It's one thing to pay to save awesome mountain gorillas, they say, but now we have to pay out to save a bunch of trees, shrubs and insects too? Maybe those gorillas aren't such a good investment after all.
However, there are good reasons to keep the forests, and not just because they support the mountain gorillas.
Forests on hillsides provide a number of useful services that we don't always appreciate. In particular, they help ensure a regular water supply.
A tiny, obscure worm may not be doing anything that's obviously useful to humans
Everyone knows that the weather is changeable. Sometimes you get too much rain, which means floods. At other times there isn't enough, which means drought. Both are dangerous.
Trees on the hills help smooth this out, ensuring a more reliable supply of fresh water. This is good news for people living on the lowlands.
For this to really work, the forest needs to be reasonably stable. It's no use if it sometimes dies back suddenly just when really heavy rains come. It needs to be resilient.
Ecologists have amassed evidence that ecosystems with a wider range of species are more stable and resilient, and less prone to sudden die-backs. This has a startling implication. A tiny, obscure worm may not be doing anything that's obviously useful to humans, but it is probably supporting the ecosystem it lives in &ndash and that ecosystem will be providing services.
Whether you put it in economic terms or not, science is telling us that ecosystems provide us with a host of things we can't do without, and that the more diverse each ecosystem is, the better.
We can't preserve nature without first figuring out how doing so will be good for humans
So for our own good &ndash both in terms of practical things like food and water, and less physical needs like beauty &ndash we should protect them.
Of course, human society is part of the ecosystem too, and you won't find many people willing to get rid of us. As a result, many conservationists now say that we can't preserve nature without first figuring out how doing so will be good for humans, because any conservation scheme needs popular support.
Equally, we can't take care of ourselves without also preserving nature, because we need it for so many things. In specific situations we might choose to favour one or the other, but overall we have to do both.
This is a new way of thinking about conservation. It's not "nature for itself", because it's explicitly about helping people. It's also not quite "nature for people", because it's not just a matter of the direct goods that ecosystems offer us.
It does mean ensuring that ecosystems are as rich and diverse as possible
Instead it's about seeing human society and wild ecosystems as one inseparable whole. Mace has called this perspective "nature and people".
This doesn't mean preserving every last species, which we couldn't do even if we tried. It's also not about keeping things exactly the same, because that's impossible too.
But it does mean ensuring that ecosystems are as rich and diverse as possible. That will be good for them, and good for us.
Watch the video: Why are Lemurs Terrified of Predators that dont Exist? (January 2023).