No species lasts forever, but there are some species of animal that are extinct specifically due to human activity. This may be due to hunting, destruction of habitat, introduction of more competitive species, or exposure to new diseases. Can you name some of the animal species that humans are directly or indirectly responsible for driving extinct?
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Last seen or declared extinct
This large species of reptile was discovered in 1877 in the Galapagos, and thought to have gone extinct within 30 years due to hunting. In 1971 that the last one on earth was discovered, and was nicknamed Lonesome George.
Pinta Island Tortoise
A large herbivore living in Africa, primarily in Cameroon, was hunted to extinction for its prized horn and hide.
Western Black Rhinoceros
A marine mammal hunted since the time of Columbus for its blubber. The last time one was seen alive was in 1952.
Caribbean Monk Seal
A leopard species declared extinct from hunting with the intent to exterminate it for its association with witchcraft, however, one was seen on camera in 2018.
An aquatic mammal that went extinct due to industrial effluent, overfishing its prey, boat collisions, and eventually hunting for using its skin in handbags.
Baiji River Dolphin
A mountain dwelling herbivore whose numbers were decimated by hunting. The last one in known to exist was killed by a falling tree, and attempts to clone the species failed.
A North American bird species that was made endangered by deforestation. The last confirmed sighting was in the 1940s.
A bird native to Guam that went extinct following human introduction of the Brown Tree-Snake in the 1940s.
A lion species of North Africa, hunted since the time of the Pharaohs.
A horse species driven to extinction due to hunting and species absorption with domestic horses.
Eurasian wild horse/Tarpan
Wallaby species hunted to extinction in the wild for fur and sport, within 85 years of discovery.
A deer species of Thailand, much of its habitat was taken over by rice farms, and then it was intensively hunted for its antlers.
A carnivorous marsupial of Australia, brought to extinction due to a combination of hunting, exposure to disease, and competition from dogs.
A large African herbivore living north of the Sahara Desert, entire herds were wiped out by the French colonial armies
Once the most populous bird species on earth, so numerous that flocks were said to block out the sun for several days, hunted to extinction following a rapid population decline in the late 19th century.
This owl species was numerous in New Zealand when European settlers arrived, but was decimated within decades by habitat destruction, introduction of cats and rats, and hunting for use as pets.
After the Black Rat was introduced to Christmas Island, this native rat species soon went extinct due to disease.
A species of Mink of New England, brutally hunted to extinction for its fur, first described in 1903, 9 years after its extinction.
A small songbird of New Zealand, driven to a small island by Polynesian Rats, and then hunted to extinction by cats, both species being introduced by humans. For a long time it was wrongly believed a single cat named Tibbles was responsible for hunting the bird to extinction.
A zebra-like animal of South Africa, extinct in the wild by 1878 due to hunting.
The only land mammal native to the Falkland Islands, a wolf killed by humans since the 1760s as they were seen as a threat to livestock.
Africa's only native bear species, exploitation by the Romans for sport crippled the population.
A species of large flightless marine birds of the North Atlantic, its population was crippled by 'The Little Iceage', and it was then hunted by humans for its feathers.
A large slow marine mammal discovered in 1741 in the Bering Sea. Within 27 years of discovery it was hunted to complete extinction.
Steller's Sea Cow
A turkey-sized flightless bird of Mauritius, first recorded in 1598 by Dutch settlers. By 1662 it was hunted to extinction.
A large cow-like animal of Eurasia, domesticated for thousands of years. It went extinct due to a combination of hunting, destruction of habitat, and exposure to diseases from other cattle.
A huge flightless bird of Madagascar, thought to have been driven to extinction by a combination of hunting and habitat destruction
A tall wingless bird species of New Zealand, believed to have been hunted to extinction within 100 years of the arrival of Maori settlers.
A huge predatory eagle that went extinct when the above bird (its prey) disappeared
Some evidence suggests humans hunted the last of this already dying species of large elephant-like animal to virtual extinction