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Globally Endangered to Extinct Wild Animals In the Past 40 Years

Updated on August 10, 2010

Spix's Macaw

My Catalyst

I cannot help but watch the flittering birds arrive with the warmth of the spring. We have had squirrels feeding from our gardens throughout the winter, but this spring has arrived early and with it, many of our feathered friends.

Last day, a pair of yellow finches arrived and landed in the tree in our backyard. Their beautiful color stood out against the young bright green shoots of the new leaves on the tree. As they perched, they sang their spring song and upon finishing their duet, they fluttered off.

When I watched them, I realized how few sightings of these beautiful birds have become. I began to think about why. Is it because of global warming? Perhaps their natural habitat is being destroyed? Maybe there has been an increase in the population of their natural predators? All these questions, and not enough answers.

I turned, as I quite often do, to the internet to see if I could find some answers. I scanned and searched and read many articles, but I did not find a single answer that answered my specific query. Instead, I found startling news.

As we are aware, the world’s population has been growing steadily. As the population grows, humans have expanded their domain for living quarters and territory for growing food. A result of this, we have displaced animals, fauna and caused huge impacts on the natural life cycle of nature.

I read some startling facts and it has affected me to the core. As humans infringe into the natural habitats of other living organisms, only two things can happen. The organism must adapt quickly to environmental changes or it will die. Granted there is more international awareness of human impact on nature, but there are still animals and fauna that are endangered or have become extinct. Some of these species have become extinct in the past 40 years – all within one’s lifetime.

I can name at least ten species that have become extinct within my lifetime. Sit down and hang on tight for some shocking news.

Madeiran Large White Butterfly

1. Madeiran Large White Butterfly (2007)

This beautiful butterfly made it’s home in the Laurisilva forests on Portugal’s Madeira islands. The two major causes of this butterflies demise is pollution from agricultural fertilizers and loss of habitat due to construction. The Madeiran Large White butterfly became extinct in 2007.

West African Black Rhinoceros

2. West African Black Rhinoceros (2006)

The West African Black Rhinoceros is one of four subspecies of rhinoceros.  In 1960, there was an estimated population of more than 100,000 West African Black Rhinoceros.  By 1980, they population had declined to 14,000.  The West African Black Rhinoceros was hunted by poachers for its horn.  Its horn was sold on the black market as some people in Yemen and China believed that the horn possesses aphrodisiacal powers.  It is believed that poachers made the final push and hunted the remaining animals in Cameroon.  The West African Black Rhinoceros was declared extinct in 2006. 


3. Po’ouli (2004)

The Po’ouli, also known as the Black-faced Honeycreeper, was a native of Maui, Hawaii and lived on the south western slope of Haleakala volcano.  This bird was only discovered in the 1970s.  Habitat loss, disease, predators and a decline in its food source, native tree snails were all contributions to the extinction of the Po’ouli.  The population of the Po’ouli declined rapidly and by 1997, there were only three known specimens left.  Attempts at breeding them failed.  The Po’ouli became extinct in 2004. 


Pyrenean Ibex

4. Pyrenean Ibex (2000)

The Pyrenean Ibex called the Pyrenees Mountain their home.  This mountain range forms the natural border between France and Spain.  The extinction of the Pyrenean ibex was a combination of habitat destruction, environmental factors and heavy poaching.  The last natural Pyrenean ibex died in 2000, which officially marked the extinction of this species.  However, a cloned ibex was created from skin samples that were taken from the last Pyrenean ibex.  The clone was births in 2009 but it died shorter after birth from lung complications.  Regardless, the Pyrenean ibex is now extinct. 

Zanzibar Leopard (Mounted)

5. Zanzibar Leopard (1996)

Named after where it lived, on the Zanzibar archipelago of Tanzania, the local people believed that the leopards were kept by witches.  As a result, they were aggressively hunted with the government endorsed the hunting using the reasoning that the Zanzibar leopard was an evil predator.  By the mid 1990s, there was a short lived conservation attempt, but it was too late.  The leopard became extinct in 1996. 

Golden Toad

6. The Golden Toad (1989)

The golden toad was found in the high altitudes of Costa Rica.  It was not the only amphibian to become extinct, but it was one of the brightest – it was fluorescent.  Due to global warming, pollution and fungal skin infections, the golden toad became extinct in 1989. 

Tecopa Pupfish

7. Tecopa Pupfish (1982)

The Tecopa pupfish was a native of the hot springs of the Mojave Desert which is located in South California, United States.  The destruction of its natural habitat by developers is the cause of its extinction.  It is the first animal to be declared extinct under the provisions of the Endangered Species Act of 1973.  The Tecopa pupfish became extinct in 1982. 

Javan Tiger

8. Javan Tiger (1979)

The Javan tiger was a native to the Indonesian island of Java.  In the 1800s, they were so common that they were considered to be pests by island natives.  As the island was developed, the Javan tiger loss its habitat  to construction and agriculture.  It’s population declined rapidly and conservation efforts during the 1940s and 1950s were unsuccessful.  By the 1950s, only 20 Javan tigers remained.  They became extinct in 1979. 

Dutch Alcon Blue Butterfly

9. Dutch Alcon Blue Butterfly (1979)

A subspecies of the Alcon Blue, the Dutch Alcon blue butterfly made its home in the grasslands of The Netherlands. With an increase in farming and building, the Dutch Alcon Blue butterfly’s habitat was destroyed and along with it, its main food source.  The last wild butterfly was seen in 1979.  The wild Dutch Alcon Blue butterfly became extinct in 1979. 

Round Island Burrowing Boa

10. Round Island Burrowing Boa (1975)

The Round Island burrowing boa lived in the topsoil layers of the volcanic slopes on Round Island, a tiny island off the coast of the Republic of Mauritius, which is located off the southeast coast of Africa.  It was once found on several other islands around the Republic of Mauritius but the introduction of non-native animals, such as rabbits and goats began destroying the Round Island burrowing boa’s habitat and vegetation.  Its population rapidly declined by the 1940s and by 1949, it could only be found on Round Island.  It became extinct in 1975. 

What I've Learned

Unfortunately, all I have to show you how beautiful these animals were are photos. I cannot help but wonder what species are next today, tomorrow, next week, next year. Then that leads me to wonder how this planet will survive when more species die. With the extinction of each species, a piece of the completed puzzle is lost. Eventually, the holes in the puzzle become more. Larger. What happens when the puzzle can no longer hold itself together? What then?

My goal is to bring awareness of this to our own home, our own backyard by showing you that extinction is still happening today. The ones I have listed are already extinct, but there are thousands of species that are on the verge of extinction, known as endangered. There is hope for these species, but time is of the essence to help save them as it is now too late for those that have perished forever.

Hope can be found in the successful conservation efforts for Spix's Macaw. Once a wild population of 30 breeding pairs, they were rendered extinct in the wild due to trapping, hunting and the introduction of honeybees. The global efforts of conservation groups brought together owners of the captured birds who have since been successfully bred.

Hope, belief and action can help save many more species.


Copyright Beth100

© August 4, 2010

© 2010 Beth100


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    • Beth100 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Canada

      LetitiaFT -- Thank you. I will come by and read your article. I have always loved the Ibex. And, don't worry, it wouldn't be spamming. :)

    • LetitiaFT profile image


      8 years ago from Paris via California

      Sure Beth, the link is in my article on Alpine Ibex. Sorry I didn't say so earlier but I didn't want to spam!

    • Beth100 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Canada

      LetitiaFT -- Thank you for the link -- perhaps you can tell me which article it is? :)

    • LetitiaFT profile image


      8 years ago from Paris via California

      Great overview, tragic tale. I just linked to it. Thanks.

    • Beth100 profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Canada

      Kakapo - Eloquent and true. Thank you for sharing this special piece.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      The sun above me and a concrete floor below

      Scratch at the chain links maybe bare my teeth for show

      Fed twice a day I don't go hungry anymore

      Feel in my bones just what the future has in store

      I pace in circles so the camera will see

      Look hard at my stripes, there'll be no more after me

      Laze by the shoreline while the sailors disembark

      Scratch out a place to sit and rest down in the dark

      Smell something burning downwind just a little ways

      They set up camp and sing and sweat and work for days

      I have no fear of anyone I'm dumb and wild and free

      I am a flightless bird and there'll be no more after me

      In Costa Rica in a burrow underground

      Climb to the surface, blink my eyes and look around

      I'm all alone here as I try my tiny song

      Claim my place beneath the sky but I won't be here for long

      I sang all night the moon shone on me through the trees

      No brothers left and there'll be no more after me

      -The Mountain Goats "Deuteronomy 2:10" from "The Life of the World To Come

    • Beth100 profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Canada

      Cheeky Girl -- Have I told you lately that you're one of my favorite gals around here? I'm always glad to see you and always love your comments. Thank you Cheeky Girl!

    • Cheeky Girl profile image

      Cassandra Mantis 

      10 years ago from UK and Nerujenia

      Wow, this is an awesome hub and I am very glad I read it. We need more great hubs like this to read and people like you Beth to write them and make us believe. Just wonderful hub!

    • Beth100 profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Canada

      Christoph -- *blushing* from your grand compliment. Thank you, I value your comments and compliments from an established writer like you.

      I find it difficult to accept that mankind can be blind to the beauty of nature. It perplexes me how some people cannot appreciate beauty until it is gone. My belief is that education is the foundation of change and change will occur when we action it out.

      Thank you Christoph for your support! :)

    • Beth100 profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Canada

      Tattoguy -- Yup, that zanzibar leopard was mighty pretty. I can't imagine it being a pest that the government sanctioned its extinction. Humans are amazing at how selfish they can be. As for me, I hope that I won't become extinct anytime soon! Luvs ya Capt'n! xoxo

    • Beth100 profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Canada

      Couponalbum -- Yes, we are responsible for our actions and the outcomes that result from them. Perhaps we can help prevent more animals (and plants) from becoming extinct in the next 40 years. Thank you!

    • Beth100 profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Canada

      Legendindia -- It is unfortunate many of us will never see these beautiful animals ever again. The time is NOW to begin realizing what we have to done our home. By killing the animals and plants around us, we are dooming ourselves to the same fate. Thank you for your comments.

    • Christoph Reilly profile image

      Christoph Reilly 

      10 years ago from St. Louis

      Thanks for writing this, Beth. I am a big proponent of wildlife and the preservation of their habitat. It is an enormously difficult and complicated problem. Education is a step in the right direction, and that's what your hub does: educates. Wow, that Zanzibar leopard is awesome. So sad it is gone. I hope Beth100 doesn't become extinct, because writers like you are rare! Thank you!

    • Beth100 profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Canada

      Nextstopjupiter -- I think the monetary system has a death grip on the human race. I hope that the method of making money will change -- instead of killing our animals, we turn to saving them, the plants and the earth. Thank you for your comments.

      Bimendra gun -- There are so many animals and plants that we have not discovered, and perhaps never will because we have already destroyed them. Thank you.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Woooo that Zanzibar Leopard looks amazing and its terrible to think it no longer exists. This is an amazing hub young lady which I have rated up and awesome, I am a big animal lover myself and its sad that we as a race are killing these fantasic creatures.

      I hope though that the lil hottie in that red bikini on yer profile pic isn't an endangered species xox

    • couponalbum profile image


      10 years ago from Sunnyvale, CA

      OMG! that was so embarrassing. Directly and indirectly, we humans are responsible for the extinction of these animals. Well! It was a great hub. Hats Off! Liked your other hubs too. Joining your fanclub and would like to invite you to join me. :)

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Great hub. very sad these animals not save on the earth.

      but i didn't see these animals.this time it is a very important for us that we think about save wild animals and other animals.

    • Bimendra gun profile image

      Bimendra gun 

      10 years ago from Sri Lanka

      Great one Beth100


      80% of animals in your article i have never seen before

      thanks for your article

    • nextstopjupiter profile image


      10 years ago from here, there and everywhere

      It is all about money! Let's hope that one day the financial system will extinct, and all the creatures created by our Mother Earth will survive in peace.

    • Beth100 profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Canada

      Ocbill -- Yea, humans hunting humans and extorting for their body parts. Worse yet, humans preying on fellow humans when they are in despair. Everything is about money. I love what they're discovering in the oceans, but I wonder where they've been hiding or are they products of the changes in the environment that we have created. Thanks ocbill!

    • ocbill profile image


      10 years ago from hopefully somewhere peaceful and nice

      it is very sad indeed. Although, there are new discoveries, mainly in the ocean, but I'd like our land animals to stay. If it is not the animal's horns, it's the human organs on the black market now.

    • Beth100 profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Canada

      Tony -- For us nature lovers, it's a stab in the heart. Yes, the Bengal Tiger is on the endangered list as well as a few other species of tigers. These majestic cats are still being illegally hunted despite laws imposed to protect them. It appears that money is the motive as the pelts ringing in a lot of cash. I, too, will be very sad if these tigers fell into the brink of extinction. Thank you Tony. xox

    • tony0724 profile image


      10 years ago from san diego calif

      Wow what a drag that we are losing so many members of the animal kingdom. I am especially a fan of the big cats. It will really make me sad if we drive them to extinction. I heard the Bengal Tiger is in danger too. I love those cats and will be really sad if they die off.

    • Beth100 profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Canada

      Vydyulashashi -- At the end of the day, it is us humans who are the ones who have lost out. It is unfortunate that these animals are now lost forever because of man's exploitation of Nature. Thank you for leaving your thoughts.

    • vydyulashashi profile image


      10 years ago from Hyderabad,India

      very sad to see these animals are no more on this should curse himself for what he had done to the innocent animals..


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