Many once-living animals have been totally wiped from the face of the earth. And more remarkable animals are facing such a fate. This piece shares a list of animals that have gone extinct in the last 100 years and the reason why they went extinct.
Generally, there are many reasons why these animals are gone and why others are being pushed to extinction. But perhaps the main contributing factors include genetic variation, habitat loss, and other threats, especially humans.
Humans have already driven many animals to extinction for the past 100 years, mainly due to hunting and encroachment of their natural habitats. As such, some animals can now be seen only in documents, fossils, old photos, museums, and history books.
By 2100, researchers have predicted that 558 mammals will become extinct. This will happen if there’s no improvement and further conservation efforts.
Here is a list of animals that have become extinct in the last century. It also includes the causes that have led them to extinction.
List of Animals that have Become Extinct in the Last 100 Years
Many animal species have gone extinct in the last few decades. Even more worrying, recent studies estimate that there are millions of endangered species on earth. Also, the extinction rate keeps rising due to various threats.
Climate change, habitat loss, and human activities are some of the factors that have led to the mass extinction of many animal species. And if no hasty actions are taken, future generations may never find hundreds of these animal species on earth.
Here are some of the animals that have gone extinct in the last 100 years:
1. Paradise Parrot
The paradise parrot is at the top of our list of extinct animals in the past century. This animal no longer lives or exists anywhere in the world.
The species was formerly found meandering the river valleys with eucalyptus woods. This included the continuous native grasses in eastern Australia.
The Paradise parrot is a small bird around 27 to 30 inches long. This remarkable bird has a crimson scapular and a long tail. A male Paradise parrot has a vivid red forehead and an ebony crown on its head.
The underbody of this species comes with an emerald-green to turquoise hue. It has a beautiful upper wing earthy brown hue and a vivid blue-tinted underwing.
Sadly, it has not been spotted since 1928. According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), it went extinct due to a combination of several threats.
Among them are severe drought, predation, habitat loss, cutting eucalyptus trees, and overgrazing of farm animals. Most of these are caused by humans. This unique parrot species is now tragically only seen in textbooks and documents.
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2. Sicilian Wolf
Several local grey wolf packs have seen significant declines in population. Others have even gone extinct for various reasons, like losing their habitat.
Among these local grey wolves are the wolf population previously existing in Sicily, known as the Sicilian Wolf. At some point, this wolf species thrived on the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea until it was destroyed and eventually became extinct.
Although this distinct subspecies of the gray Wolf is endemic to the Siberian steppes, it is essentially identical to the Wolf in Italy. Except it has a lighter tawny-colored coat and the dark band throughout its forelimbs either missing or just barely marked, as is the case with the Italian Wolf.
Because of human activity, the extinction of the Sicilian Wolf has occurred. According to a study, humans are responsible for wolf extinction because of their voracious appetite for livestock owned by farmers.
In addition, it is believed that the environmental crisis and disasters on the island contributed to their population’s decline. Eventually, they went extinct on the island.
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3. Passenger Pigeon
This bird species was once found in large numbers soaring over North American skies. And while it was considered among the most populous birds, it is now extinct.
The passenger pigeon, also known as the Ectopistes migratorius scientifically, has been gone from the earth for more than a century. It used to be one of the most common birds in North America.
The migratory bird was far larger than the mourning dove and the Old World turtledove. It had a pinkish body, a blue-gray head, and a longer tail than the average cat. It grew up to 32cm in length and flew at speeds of up to 60 mph.
The native Americans depended on passenger pigeons for food, which added to the species’ population fall. When Europeans arrived in North America, hunting for these pigeons became rampant.
The human-induced hunting of passenger pigeons significantly slowed the species’ population, leading to their mass extinction. Other factors contributing to the species’ decline were habitat degradation and predation.
The fact that this species can no longer fly freely in the skies is a tragedy. Nevertheless, it leaves a wonderful legacy for humanity by raising awareness and igniting a conservation movement for various species.
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4. Heath Hen
Once abundant along the east coast of the United States, this animal is now extinct. It is believed that the Heath hen went extinct in the last 100 years for various causes. It is a subspecies of the larger prairie chicken, only found on Martha’s Vineyard in the United States.
Because of its morphological traits, this species is quite similar to the Greater Prairie Chicken of the Plains in appearance. Even though the Heath hen is slightly smaller in size, with a length that can reach roughly 17 inches and a weight of approximately two pounds,
Heath Hens were quite prevalent in their natural habitat during colonial times. But because they were gallinaceous birds, settlers heavily hunted for food to supplement their diet.
Aside from hunting, wildfires and a shift in the location of this chicken’s population were factors in its dwindling population. Following the extinction of the heath hen species in 1933, Booming Ben is the last known surviving member of the species lineage.
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5. Japanese Sea Lion
The Japanese sea lion, which used to swim freely in the ocean and bask by the bay in the Japanese Archipelago and on the Korean Peninsula, is now a living memory. This animal is no longer found in the water. Sadly, it can only be seen in textbooks, museums, and legends, as it is one of the extinct animals.
Before 2003, it was considered a subspecies of the California sea lion, which it is linked to. It was a part of the eared seal group, another sea Lion.
They differed from real seals in that they had little permanent earflaps and rear flippers that could be twisted to face forward. The Black sea lion and its other names demonstrate that adult males had a dark coloration, and females had a paler shade, comparable to brown.
According to estimates, 30,000 to 50,000 Japanese sea lions roamed freely throughout the shore. But they are now gone. They we wiped from the face of the planet in the 1970s.
This amazing mammal went to extinction due to several factors. The species had no natural enemies except humans, who hunted them for their skins, whiskers, and internal organs.
Japanese sea lions were also captured and sold to circuses. Aside from that, it was a victim of fishing-related persecution and harvesting.
There are a variety of extinct species on the planet. And one of these species is the bubal antelope. It is also known as the bubal hartebeest or the bubal hartebeest antelope.
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6. Bubal Hartebeest
This intriguing species was last seen roaming freely in the northern reaches of the Saharan Desert. However, it got extinct in the last century.
The bubal hartebeest was described as having a body that was consistently sandy in color. It bears a patch of grayish color on each side of its muzzle above its nostrils, which is distinctive. When viewed from the front, it measured 43 inches at the shoulder and had horns shaped like a ‘U.’
During the nineteenth century, the subspecies suffered a significant fall, particularly during the French conquest and extermination of this species. It is mostly due to overhunting on humans’ part that these hartebeest subspecies were driven to extinction.
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7. Tasmanian Tiger
This incredible animal was native throughout Australia’s large continent, including the islands of Tasmania and the country of New Guinea. It was formerly observed strolling as a free-ranging animal but is now among the animals that no longer exist.
The Tasmanian Tiger, also known as the Thylacine and Tasmanian Wolf, had intriguing features. It had 15 to 20 distinctive dark stripes throughout its back from shoulders to tail, visible from shoulders to tail.
In addition to the black eye, two small brown triangles with orange fur on the outside sit opposite it. It also had a robust jaw with many teeth (46 in total).
Thylacine was primarily active at night and early morning. It hunted alone or in couples, and it did it primarily at night. Kangaroos, smaller animals, and birds made up most of its food.
European colonists and farmers hunted down the Tasmanian tiger because they feared it would prey on their sheep. This resulted in the extinction of the Tasmanian Tiger species. Another factor contributing to its demise was competition for food with Dingo.
Today, Tasmanian tigers are no longer roaming the Australian plains. Instead, they can only be seen in museums and literature books.
The final movie made of a live Tasmanian tiger was taken in 1936 at the Hobart Zoo, the only place where the species still lived. That Tasmanian tiger died in 1936.
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8. The Golden Toad
The Golden Toad once lived in a great population in Monteverde Cloud Forest. However, it is now one of the animals that have become extinct in the last 100 years.
It was a notable frog with a vivid burnt-yellow coloration almost identical to gold, which is where its name comes from. The species remained underground for most of its existence, surfacing only for a few days to reproduce.
Seeing these frogs must have been stunning due to their bright gold color. Unfortunately, it is now only available in textbooks and on the internet because they are extinct.
The little toad was last observed in 1989 in a Costa Rican rainforest. And it was officially extinct in 1994 after not being discovered again in the years ahead.
It is suspected that Chytridiomycosis, a lethal skin illness and an infectious disease that kills amphibians, was among the cause of the extinction. Also, due to a lack of suitable habitat, global warming, and a limited population, the species’ numbers steadily declined. It has now been unfortunately declared extinct.
9. Carolina Parakeet
Carolina Parakeet was found from southern New York and Wisconsin all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. This parrot species had brilliant feathers. It was only native to the eastern United States and was found in old forests along rivers from southern New York and Wisconsin to the Gulf of Mexico.
On February 21, 1918, a male named Incas died within a year of his mate Lady Jane at the Cincinnati Zoological Garden, officially bringing the species to an end. The last wild living of this bird was killed in Florida’s Okeechobee County.
The vivid feathers of the only species of parrot native to the Eastern United States, the Carolina Parakeet, come in various colors, including green, yellow, and red. They were highly regarded as ornaments for women’s hats in the early 90s. As a result, the number of people hunting and killing this rare species increased while its population decreased.
Additionally, natural catastrophes, including fires and floods, could have fragmented the birds’ habitat, resulting in extinction. Deadly diseases also decimated the population of these once-prolific birds.
See Related: Yellow-Eared Parrot
10. Caspian tiger
The Caspian Tiger is among the animals that have also become extinct in the last 100 years. It was a magnificent tiger that used to inhabit the lands of eastern Turkey, the Caspian Sea, and northern Iran. It’s among various renowned tigers, including the Persian and Turan.
Like any other tiger, the Caspian tiger was distinguished by the sheer size of its legs. They were significantly longer than other members of the large cat family, emphasizing the animal’s immense size even further. Even though it featured the characteristic striped tiger stripes, its real color was very different from other tiger species.
During the nineteenth century, according to National Geographic, the Russian Army was ordered to eliminate the tigers as part of an agricultural development initiative. This drove these big cats to extinction. Now, they are only remembered through stories, memories, and historical documentation.
11. Helena Darter
St. Helena Darter is a species of dragonfly that was found only in St. Helena, a volcanic island in the Atlantic. This dragonfly species, now considered extinct, belongs to the Libellulidae family.
There are a lot of factors that have contributed to the dragonfly’s extinction. While there were no direct threats to this insect, habitat destruction is the most likely threat to this species’ survival.
Following the island’s colonization by Europeans in the late sixteenth century, the island’s natural ecology was severely altered. This resulted in the extinction of the island’s original vegetation. The final sighting of the St. Helena Darter dragonfly was in 1963, marking its extinction from the face of the earth.
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12. Guam Flying Fox
Guam is a tropical island in the Pacific Ocean, namely the tropical islands of the Marianas, which include Guam. It was home to the tiny Marianas fruit bat known as Guam flying fox.
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the conservation status of these bats has been proclaimed Extinct. They have not been sighted since the 1970s.
It has been years since the last of these tiny fruit bats was killed by hunters, and they have not been reliably sighted ever since. While this species was still living, predators and humans were its major serious threats.
Humans have played a significant role in the extinction of this flying fox species. This is both through habitat encroachment and hunting.
These little herbivores could grow up to 14-15 cm in length and weigh only 152g. They were herbivores that ate plants.
As for appearance, they had hairy bodies and a color ranging from brownish-yellow to gray or dark brown. Also, they were nocturnal, so they were most active at night.
13. Pinta Island Tortoise
The Pinta Island tortoise, also known as the Abingdon Island tortoise or Abingdon Island tortoise, has gone extinct. It’s among the many tortoise species that have gone extinct in the last century.
While the species was presumed extinct by the end of the 20th century, things changed when a male was found in 1971. However, efforts to cross-mate the male with other species bore no fruits. As such, the species was formally declared extinct in 2012 after the death of that last male in Galapagos National Park.
Hunting was the primary culprit that led to its mass extinction. Whalers used this giant Island tortoise as food.
Pinta Island tortoise was a herbivore that fed on native fruits, grasses, and cactus pads. They drank a lot of water and stored it in their bodies to use later. Then, when it came to rest, it would rest for about 16 hours a day.
The tortoises were known to be most active in the hot season for breeding. In the cool seasons, the female tortoises migrate to nesting zones to lay eggs.
These species played an important role in the Island ecosystem as they dispersed seeds through their herbivory and nutrient cycling. Therefore, when their population dwindled, it diminished the functioning of the island ecosystem.
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14. Round Island Burrowing Boa
Last seen in 1975, the Round Island Burrowing Boa is a species of snake that has gone extinct in the past century. There are no known subspecies.
Endemic to Round island, Mauritius, this snake’s total length was about 1 m (3 ft 3 in), including the tail. It’s pink marbled with blackish ventrally, and its color is light brown with blackish spots. It has a cylindrical head and body and a pointed snout.
This snake’s habitat was palm savannah and hardwood forests. It only had a range of 1.5 square kilometers.
While it had no specific diet, it is presumed to have fed on lizards and their eggs. Also, it was thought to eat the chicks and eggs of burrowing and ground-nesting seabirds.
The snake was already rare by 1949. And it is now declared extinct on International Union for Conservation of Nature’s red list of threatened species. The main cause is the habitat loss brought about by soil erosion due to goats and rabbits overgrazing.
Another Mauritius extinct species is the flightless bird, Dodo. This has not been extinct in the last 100 years, as the last sighting is said to have been between 1688 and 1715. Even though in the 17th century, it was already rare and threatened with extinction, it was officially declared extinct in the 19th century.
Much is not known about this bird. Various early scientists compared it to a rail, a small ostrich, a vulture, and an albatross. However, after studying its skull, a Danish Zoologist classified it as a pigeon in 1842.
Based on weight estimates, Dodo females could reach 17 years and males 21. And the bird could run very fast based on the leg bones’ which were robust and strong enough to support the bird’s bulk.
Its preferred habitat is not confirmed. However, suggestions show that it inhabited the woods in the drier coastal areas of west and South Mauritius. This is because its last remains were excavated in the swamps near Southeastern Mauritius.
Dodos’ eating habitats were versatile. This flightless bird is presumed to have fed on fallen seeds, nuts, roots, and bulbs. It could have also eaten shellfish and crabs with its strong beak, which was also used for defense.
Dodo did not fear humans. This fearlessness, coupled with its inability to fly, made it easy prey for sailors. This led to mass killings, and thus, it became extinct.
See Related: Endangered Southern and Northern White Rhino
16. Caribbean Monk Seal
The Caribbean Monk Seal is also known as the sea wolf or the West Indian seal. It is one of the seal species that have become extinct in the last 100 years.
The Caribbean monk seal’s last sighting was in 1952 at the Serranilla bank between Nicaragua and Jamaica. This was the only seal species native to the Caribbean. After a five-year exhaustive search, the species was declared extinct in the US in 2008.
The primary predators were humans and sharks. Overfishing for food and overhunting for oils are the two primary reasons for these seals’ extinction. The reduction of the reefs, which they depended on for sustenance, also led to starvation and eventual death.
Caribbean monk seals had relatively long, large, robust bodies. It weighed 170 to 270 kilograms (375 to 600 lb) and could grow to nearly 2.4 meters (8 ft) in length. Males were slightly larger than female seals.
Its face had upward-opening nostrils, relatively large wide-spaced eyes, and fairly big whisker pads with long, smooth, and light-colored whiskers.
17. Crescent Nail Tail Wallaby
Worong, as it’s also known, was a small species of marsupial that is now extinct. The worong was one of the three known species of the genus, named for their distinctive tails with a claw-like tip or nail.
The animal was compared to a rabbit or hare in appearance, habits, and taste. In terms of appearance, the species had moon-like or whitish crescent-shaped marks that inspired their names. The mark extends from the shoulder behind the arm via the flank and ends at a point just above the leg.
Crescent nail tail wallaby weighed 3.5 kilograms and had light and dark patches of fur across the body. Its fur was soft and silky and had an ashen grey coloring, partly with reddish brown tones. Additionally, it had a horny spur at its tail’s tip and pretty attractive facial stripes.
The species was timid and hid from humans. It grazed on grass in the woodlands and scrubs of Central and Southwestern Australia.
Crescent nail tail wallaby disappeared in the early 20th century. The steep decline began in 1908.
The last species was spotted on the Nullarbor Plain in 1927 or 1928 in a Dingo trap. It was taken into an Australian museum and survived until the 1950s when its believed to have disappeared due to the spread of red fox.
See Related: Most Endangered Amphibians on Earth
18. Desert Rat Kangaroo
Another small hopping marsupial that has gone extinct in the last 100 years is the desert rat-kangaroo. This Kangaroo, also known as plains rat kangaroo or buff-nosed rat kangaroo, was endemic to the desert regions of Central Australia.
Even before European colonization, the species was apparently rare. After it was first seen in the 1840s, it disappeared for 90 years and was believed to be extinct.
It was rediscovered in 1931 following the relief of the drought conditions. The last confirmed sighting was in 1935 in the eastern Lake Eyre basin of northern Southern Australia. Since then, no reliable sighting reports have been made.
The desert rat-kangaroo is made like a kangaroo but has a bulk of a small rabbit. It has a blunt, short, and wide head, different from a kangaroo, rounded, short ears, and a naked nose. It’s partially nocturnal, and its native habitat was very arid.
19. Western African Black Rhinoceros
The Western black rhino is also an extinct animal. The (IUCN)International Union for Conservation of Nature declared it extinct in 2011. Its last sighting reported in Cameroon’s Northern Province was in 2006.
This rhinoceros was genetically different from the other subspecies that went extinct (the Southern and North-Eastern back rhinos). It was once widespread in the savanna of sub-Saharan Africa. However, its numbers declined due to illegal hunting.
Poaching was the main cause of the extinction. It was done to remove its horns which were believed to have medicinal value and to make ceremonial knife handles. Hunting occurred in the early 20th century until preservation measures were implemented in 1930.
The Western black rhino had two horns. One measuring 0.5 to 1.4 m (1.6 to 4.6 ft) and another measuring 2 to 55 cm (0.79 to 21.65 in). It had a height of 1.4 to 1.8 m (4.6 to 5.9 ft), weighed 800 to 1,400 kg (1,760 to 3,090 lb), and measured 3 to 3.75 m (9.8 to 12.3 ft) long.
The Western African black rhino were browsers. In other words, they were herbivores that ate leafy plants and shoots in the morning and evening. During the hotter parts of the day, they wallowed or slept to rest.
See Related: Caspian Seal
20. Baiji White Dolphin
The baiji white dolphin, also known as the Chinese river dolphin, is another species that future generations won’t have the pleasure of meeting. It was found in the Yangtze River of China and was declared functionally extinct in 2006. This was after a survey failed to spot any tangible evidence that they still existed.
The baiji white dolphins had an average length of 2 to 2.4 meters (6.5 to 7.9 feet). They were distinctive due to their long beaks and pale gray skin, which gave them the nickname “Goddess of the Yangtze” or “Goddess of the Baiji” because of their beauty and gracefulness when swimming.
Their bodies were adapted for fast swimming and efficient oxygen uptake from water with highly specialized organs. They fed on fish and had poor eyesight, relying instead on sound to orient themselves in their murky environment.
The decline of the baiji white dolphin began in the 1950s due to the building of dams and other man-made structures that blocked their movement and disrupted their natural habitat. Pollution from factories and boats was another factor leading to its demise.
The last known individual died in 2002. It is now presumed extinct. Conservation efforts have since been put into place to protect other species living in the Yangtze River region.
Have any animals gone extinct in the last 100 years?
Yes, several animals have gone extinct in the last 100 years. One of the most well-known examples is the passenger pigeon, which went extinct in 1914 due to overhunting and habitat loss. Other animals that have gone extinct in the last century include the Tasmanian tiger, the ivory-billed woodpecker, and the Caribbean monk seal.
Have any animals become extinct in the last 50 years?
Yes, some animals have become extinct in the last 50 years. One example is the Baiji dolphin, which was declared functionally extinct in 2007 due to human activities such as overfishing, dam construction, and pollution.
Another example is the West African black rhinoceros, which was declared extinct in 2011 due to poaching for its horn and habitat loss. Unfortunately, there are many other animals that have become endangered or threatened in the last 50 years.
What animals went extinct in the last 20 years?
The topic is animals that have gone extinct in the last 20 years. One example of an animal that has gone extinct in the last 20 years is the Bramble Cay melomys, a small rat-like mammal that lived on a small island in the Great Barrier Reef.
Another example is the Pinta Island tortoise, which was the last surviving member of its species and died in 2012, marking the end of the species. Unfortunately, there are several other animals that have gone extinct in the last 20 years due to habitat loss, climate change, and human activity.
How many out of every 100 species that have ever lived are now extinct?
The proportion of species that have gone extinct over the course of Earth’s history is estimated to be around 99%. This means that out of every 100 species that have ever existed, approximately 99 are now extinct. The causes of extinction are varied and can include natural factors such as climate change or volcanic activity, as well as human activities like habitat destruction and hunting.