Casualties of Man: Five Recently Extinct Animals

Since the turn of the century a number of animals have disappeared from existence. All across our planet creatures that once thrived are finding it increasingly hard to survive. Here are five that recently dropped off the endangered list into extinction.

Western Black Rhino


Declared extinct in 2011, this African subspecies was over-hunted to the point of no return. Despite preservation efforts, poaching persisted. By the end of the 20th century only a few survived. In Cameroon the last Western Black Rhiro was seen in 2006.

Baiji Dolphins



The first aquatic mammal to disappear since the 1950’s was the Baiji dolphin. After a 2006 Chinese expedition failed to find any of the creatures in the rivers, it became functionally extinct.

The Baiji dolphin was documented in a 3rd century ancient dictionary, and was said to have an approximate population of 5,000. In the 1950’s the number was at 6,000, but dropped quickly in the decades that followed.

Eastern Cougar



Although Canadian organizations have taken no position on the animal’s status, in 2011 US Fish and Wildlife Service deemed the Eastern cougar extinct. The cat is thought by many to have been a subspecies of the North American cougar, but in 2011 the Canada’s national Commitee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada website said there was ‘insuffient’ evidence that it ever existed at all.

Pinta Island Tortoise

…or at least he was.

Lonesome George was the last Pinta Island tortoise. During the final years of his life he was considered the most rare creature in the world. Although he was a famous face for conservation efforts in the Galapagos Islands and beyond, there was no saving his kind. George died in 2012, and lived for over 100 years.

However, there is hope for the Giant tortoise. A study by Yale researchers have found 17 hybrid descendants of C. abingdoni within a population of 1,667 tortoises on the secluded northern tip of Isabela, another Galápagos island. Genetic testing identified three males, nine females, and five juveniles (under the age of 20) with DNA from C. abingdoni. The presence of juveniles suggests that purebred specimens may exist on the island too, the researchers said.

Pyrenean ibex



A subspecies of the Liberian wild goat was the first extinction of the new millennium. In January 2000 the Pyrenean ibex went into extinction. Scientist didn’t let go without a fight, and attempted to clone the mammal using DNA in 2009, they were successful in the cloning but the animal died soon after birth due to physical defects in its lungs.

It is hard to deny mankind’s role in the destruction of nature. There is no bringing animals back from the point of extinction, and these animals will never be seen again.

Perhaps we should be hunting the poachers.

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