Humans are the most important creatures living on earth at the moment and also responsible for the biggest non-natural changes on the planet. Over the millions of years of evolution, humans have been responsible for the disappearance of some extremely impressive animal species.
In today’s article, we are going to list 20 animals that are now extinct because of humans. And if this list is scary, think about the fact that there are a lot more species that have gone extinct because of human activity and even more are on the endangered list, meaning that they could go extinct in the next few years.
The fact that humans can have such a powerful – and unfortunately negative – effect on Planet Earth is even more unbelievable when we think about the fact that all humans on earth represent only one ten thousandth (1/10,000th) of the biomass on Earth, according to this article. But we’re the species that has the biggest impact over the other living beings on this planet.
So before we check out 20 of the most important species that have gone extinct because of humans, let’s talk some numbers!
Did you know that over 1,000 species have gone extinct over the past 500 years because of us, humans? Did you know that there are probably tens of thousands more species that have gone extinct because of us before scientists discovered them or started to keep track of them?
Did you know that just 70 years ago, there were over 400,000 lions in the wild and now there are just 25,000 left? These numbers are indeed scary and sad at the same time!
But back to today’s topic, here are 20 animals that have gone extinct because of human activity:
This bird was found in Afica, mostly on the Madagascar region and, true to its name, it was huge. Up to 3 meters tall (10 feet), these birds used to lay eggs that weighted up to 10 kilos each.
These impressive creatures are extinct since the 1200s, although there have been reports of sightings up to the 17th century.
This is the wild ancestor of the domestic cattle. It has become extinct around the 1450s due to the huge domestication and hunting of the wild animals.
One of the best known extinct animals because of human activity, this impressive bird was mostly found in Mauritius and has gone extinct around the 1660s.
It was an impressive bird that could reach heights of 1 meter (3.3 ft) and weighted up to 17 kilograms (39 lbs). Due to the way it looked, it is now considered an iconic bird.
Steller’s sea cow
One of the saddest stories of an extinct animal. This huge water creature was discovered in 1741 in the Bering sea and it took humans just 27 years to see it goes extinct.
This gentle monster weighted up to 10 tons and had lengths of up to 9 meters (30 ft), but was slow and non-violent. It was heavily hunted and became extinct almost instantly after being discovered.
These huge and impressive bears, which were used by the Romans in their Gladiator fights, went extinct in the 1870s.
Falkland Islands wolf aka the Warrah
This was the only native land mammal of the Falkland Islands, but has gone extinct in 1876. It was the first in an unfortunately ever-growing list of canidaes to go extinct in human history.
Although many of its cousins have been successfully reintroduced into the wild since its extinction, the Eastern Elk went extinct in 1880.
Around the same time as the Eastern Elk went extinct, a smaller species living in the same geographical area disappeared as well.
The Sea Mink was hunted for its extremely soft and dense fur and excessive hunting led to its demise.
Looking like a strange mixture between a zebra and a horse, with only the top half of its body showing the distinctive stripes of a zebra, the Quagga became extinct in 1883.
There’s just a photo of a live animal – in a zoo – and looking at it makes us even sadder that this beautiful creature no longer exists.
Another extremely sad story of an animal going extinct because of human activity: the Passenger Pigeon, an extremely migratory species, was once the most abundant bird in North America, with an estimated population between 3 and 5 BILLION. And not a single one exists today!
Although they were extremely fast flyers, reaching speeds of up to 100 km per hour (62 mph), due to extremely excessive hunting (they were sold as cheap food) and deforestation, the entire species went extinct in the 19th century.
During the time when the Passenger Pigeon was going extinct in North America, the same was happening with this impressive owl in New Zealand.
Getting its name because of its distinctive vocalizations, the owl was plentiful until intense colonization began in New Zealand, going extinct in 1914.
A majestic creature that lived in Northern Africa and even has a hieroglyph associated to it (showing that it was known to humans since ancient times) went extinct in 1925.
Another impressive wild beast – a Bison that lived in the Caucasian region – went extinct in 1927.
Also known as Thylacine, and probably the inspiration behind Disney’s Taz cartoon character, this species has gone extinct in 1936. As a sad reminder that any action matters, it is reported that a farmer shot the last living Tasmanian Tiger.
Caribbean Monk Seal
Seals are not living only in Zoos and Antarctica. They used to live in the Caribbean too before humans helped them go extinct in 1952,
Another majestic creature that is no more! It used to live in the wilderness of the Middle East and Central Asia, but due to excessive hunting it has become extinct in the 1970s.
This is the first species in the human history to be officially verified to go extinct because of climate change. This happened back in 1989 and humans haven’t slowed down since…
A beautiful, fresh water dolphin only found in the Yangtze River in China. It has been officially declared extinct by the Chinese government, although there have been reported sightings of Baijis in 2006, so there might still be hope here.
Western Black Rhinoceros
Many of us still remember seeing this majestic creature out in the wild as it has gone extinct in 2011.
They were usually hunted for their horns only, who were considered to have extremely beneficial health effects and a kilo of their horns was sold at over $50,000. This was the main reason behind their extinction.
Pinta Island Tortoise
A huge tortoise that was only found in Ecuador’s Pinta Islands, the species has gone extinct in 2012 when Lonesome George – the last in its species, died in a zoo waiting for a mate.
Some really sad stories as we see amazing animals being wiped off the face of earth because of us. It’s time to make a change, it’s time to change our ways and start giving back to this planet and not only take away.
Do you agree with this? If you do, then don’t hesitate to share this article with the world so that everyone is made aware!