100 Recently Extinct Animals

What can we say about recently extinct animals that hasn't been said before? When it comes to protecting and preserving endangered species, human beings have a sad track record. We can see it in our hearts to forgive our distant ancestors--who were too busy trying to stay alive to worry about the population dynamics of the Saber-Tooth Tiger--but modern civilization, especially over the last 200 years or so, has no excuse for overhunting, environmental depredation, and just plain cluelessness. Here's a list of 100 animals that have gone extinct in historical times, including mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, and invertebrates. (See also Why Do Animals Go Extinct?)

The Golden Toad
The Golden Toad, a recently extinct animal. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Of all the animals alive on earth today, amphibians are the most endangered--and countless amphibian species have succumbed to disease, disruption of the food chain, and devastation of their natural habitats. Here's a list of 10 frogs, toads, salamanders and caecilians that have gone extinct in historical times, ranging from the Sri Lankan Shrub Frog to Nannophrys guentheri.

cave lion
The Cave Lion, a recently extinct animal. Heinrich Harder

You might think lions, tigers and cheetahs would be better equipped to defend themselves against extinction than less dangerous animals--but you'd be dead wrong. The fact is that, for the last million years, big cats and human beings have a poor track record for coexistence, and it's always people who come out on top. Here's a list of 10 recently extinct big cats, ranging from the Saber-Tooth Tiger to the American Lion.

passenger pigeon
The Passenger Pigeon, a recently extinct animal. Wikimedia Commons

Some of the most famous extinct animals of recent times have been birds--but for every Passenger Pigeon or Dodo, there's a much bigger and much lesser-known casualty like the Elephant Bird or the Eastern Moa (and many other species remain endangered to this day). Here's a list of 10 birds that have gone extinct under the watch of human civilization, ranking from the Carolina Parakeet to the Eskimo Curlew.

blue walleye
The Blue Walleye, a recently extinct animal. Wikimedia Commons

As the old saying goes, there are a lot of fish in the sea--but there are a lot less than there used to be, as various species of various genera succumb to pollution, overfishing and drainage of their lakes and rivers (and even popular food fish like tuna are under extreme environmental pressure). Here's a list of 10 recently extinct fish, ranging from the Galapagos Damsel to the Lake Titicaca Oresteias.

irish elk
The Irish Elk. a recently extinct animal. Charles R. Knight

The average rhinoceros or elephant needs a lot of real estate to prosper, which makes these animals particularly vulnerable to civilization, and the myth persists that shooting a large, defenseless animal counts as "sport"--which is why game animals are among the most endangered creatures on earth. Here's a list of 10 recently extinct megafauna mammals, ranging from the Pyrenean Ibex to the Stag-Moose.

quagga
The Quagga, a recently extinct animal. Wikimedia Commons

Horses are the odd mammals out on this list: the genus Equus persists and prospers, while particular Equus breeds have gone extinct (not because of hunting or environmental pressure, but simply because they're no longer fashionable). Here's a list of 10 Equus species and subspecies that have gone extinct in historical times, ranging from the American Zebra to the Turkoman.

xerces blue
The Xerces Blue, a recently extinct animal. Wikimedia Commons

Considering that literally thousands of snail, moth and mollusk species remain to be discovered, especially in the world's rain forests, who cares if the occasional moth or earthworm bites the dust? Well, the fact is that these tiny creatures have just as much a right to exist as we do, and they've been around for a lot longer. Here's a list of 10 recently extinct insects and invertebrates, ranging from the Levuana Moth to the Rocky Mountain Locust.

lesser bilby
The Lesser Bilby, a recently extinct animal. Wikimedia Commons

Australia, New Zealand and Tasmania are justly famous for their marsupials--but as popular as kangaroos and wallabies are for throngs of curious tourists, there are plenty of pouched mammals that never made it out of the 19th century. Here's a list of 10 marsupials that have gone extinct in historical times, ranging from the Broad-Faced Potoroo to the Tasmanian Tiger.

jamaican giant galliwasp
The Jamaican Giant Galliwasp, a recently extinct animal. Wikimedia Commons

Oddly enough, since the mass extinction of dinosaurs, pterosaurs and marine reptiles 65 million years ago, reptiles as a whole have fared relatively well in the extinction sweepstakes, inhabiting pretty much all the world's continents. But that's not to deny that some notable reptile species have vanished off the face of the earth, as witness our list ranging from the Quinkana to the Round Island Burrowing Boa.

sardinian pika
The Sardinian Pika, a recently extinct animal. Wikimedia Commons

The reason mammals survived the K/T Extinction was that they were very small, needed very little food, and lived high up in trees--but that doesn't mean every mouse-sized creature since has managed to avoid oblivion. Here's a list of 10 shrews, bats and rodents that have gone extinct in historical times, ranging from the Big-Eared Hopping Mouse to the Giant Vampire Bat.