Animals have been going extinct since the beginning of time. But until humans came into the mix, these extinctions were usually the result of volcano explosions, meteorites, ice ages, and other natural disasters. However, a different and much more rapid trend of extinction has begun to develop, and it seems to be correlated with human growth. As humans have become smarter and healthier, animals seem not to be able to keep up, and sadly end up being extinct. We have gathered a list of 40 mammals that have gone extinct in about the last 40 years.
The unusual monkey-like kangaroo clambers through the trees of the montane forests of New Guinea. It had been seen there only once before by Western scientists, in 1928.
Recently the elusive, and rare species were spotted and photographed, but then never seen again. There is vast speculation among conservationist that the species is extinct as of today.
In 2016 the Bramble Cay Melomys was the first mammalian extinction officially recognized by Australia that was described to be caused by human-induced climate change.
“The Bramble Cay Melomys was a little brown rat,” said Tim Beshara, a spokesman for advocacy group The Wilderness Society. “But it was our little brown rat, and it was our responsibility to make sure it persisted. And we failed.”
The Bouvier’s red colobus monkey was discovered by the Italian-born explorer Giacomo Savorgnan di Brazza in the years 1883–1886, and described in 1887 by the French botanist and zoologist Alphonse Trémeau de Rochebrune.
Speculations on the animal’s survival are still debated amongst scientists around the world. There have been very few spotting’s of the Red Colobus, but not since 2015.
The final nail in the coffin was placed when the Red List of Threatened Species declared that the bat species found only in Australia the Christmas Island Pipistrelle went instinct.
“It’s complicated to decide when a species definitely has gone extinct,” says Craig Hilton-Taylor, head of the IUCN’s Red List Unit. He goes on to say that it has not been seen since 2009 and has a very distinctive call that has not been heard for years.
The Saudi gazelle is an extinct species of gazelle that was once found in the Arabian Peninsula. Its extinction is due to hunting by humans in its native lands.
It was declared to be extinct in 2008, but that’s only because scientist wait for the final report before announcing it to the public, and it is believed that its disappearance began way before 2008.
The Baiji Chinese River Dolphin had existed on earth for 20 million years in its habitat of the Yangtze River, China. Its demise was rapid and shocking to the world as it abruptly went from a healthy population of some 6000 animals go extinct in a few decades, nothing more than a blink of an eye.
The Baji would be declared one of the first large mammal species to be extinct in 50 years due to human interference with its habitat.
The Central Rock-rat has been a rare species for a long time. Most museum specimens were collected in the 1894 Horn Expedition to central Australia, as well as the flowing year.
Two samples were collected in 1952 in the northern Tanami Desert. Many wildfires in the region have pushed the Central Rock to virtual extinction, and no sightings have been reported since 2001.
The Scimitar-Horned Oryx (Oryx Dammah) was once widespread across the southern Sahara but was driven to extinction during a period of widespread civil unrest throughout the region in the 1980s and ’90s.
Despite this, conservationists have been able just barely to save the species, and help protect a small heard that in 2016 had birthed the first male Oryx in twenty years.
The Telefomin cuscus or (Phalanger Matanim) is a possum species found on New Guinea that is believed to be extinct. It was named after the Telefol ethnic group.
A group who knew of the animal’s existence long before it was discovered scientifically by the Australian zoologist Tim Flannery. Sadly today, it is no longer roaming the earth.
Source: Wikipedia; The Aru flying fox (Pteropus Aruensis) is a Critically Endangered species of mega-bat found in the Aru Islands in Indonesia. It was described by Wilhelm Peters in 1867. It was formerly considered a subspecies of the black-bearded flying Fox.
The species is poorly known and has not been encountered since the 19th century. It is classified as critically endangered by the IUCN and is listed on CITES Appendix II.
The Angel Island Mouse, also known as the La Guarda Deermouse or (Peromyscus Guardia) is a species of rodents in the Cricetidae family. The species had lived in three smaller islands before going extinct.
The loss of rodents such as this one may seem harmless, but it actually harms the ecosystem very much by disrupting the food chain around it.
The montane monkey-faced bat has been assessed as “critically endangered (possibly extinct)” by the IUCN. If it is not extinct, the IUCN estimates that its population contains no more than 50 adults in a single community. Extensive surveys in 2015 failed to locate additional individuals, making the holotype collected in 1990 the only documented individual.
In 2010, the United States Federal Government were sent a petition from “WildEarth Guardians” requesting to list the montane monkey-faced bat, as well as 14 other species of bat, under the Endangered Species Act. There is also extensive speculation on the animal’s extinction.
Garrido’s hutia or (Mysateles Garridoi) is a critically endangered or even possibly extinct species that was once found in the Greater Antillean forests.
It is also thought to have included small islands in the Banco de los Jardins y Jardinillos of Canarreos Archipelago, south of Cuba’s Zapata Peninsula, and east of the Isle of Youth. A single Hutia was collected in around 1970 on Cayos Maja off of south-central Cuba. In 1989, two additional animals were also found but were not able to reproduce, thus spelling an end to the species.
The Kouprey is a legally protected species around the world and may be present in some protected areas.
Prince Sihanouk designated it as the national animal of Cambodia in the 1960s, partly due to its mystique, and charming appearance. A 2008 IUCN report lists the Kouprey is a critically endangered or even “possibly extinct” species.
The Christmas Island Shrew was remarkably a very little-known species worldwide. Most of the knowledge of it comes from a few observations made at the time of its discovery, in the 1890s.
After and since 1902, it has only been reported four times, twice in 1958, once in 1984 and once again in 1985. It was already feared extinct in 1908 and considered extinct in the 1940s, but the official declaration of its extinction came years later.
The San Felipe hutia or (Mesocapromys Sanfelipensis), also known as the little earth hutia, was initially found in Cuba and is listed on the 2008 IUCN Red List as Critically Endangered, possibly extinct.
The fact that rodents such as this one has gone extinct puts a huge danger to the ecosystem and food chain not just in Cuba, but the world over.
The Wimmer’s Shrew is a species of mammals that originated in the Ivory Coast. Little has been known about the animal, as it was considered extinct in 1976. Despite the declaration of its discovery, sightings have been reported in late 2003, but they were not confirmed.
The species today is listed as Endangered, but experts say that it could very well just be extinct, as no sightings have been reported since 2003.
The Lord Howe Long-eared Bat is the definition of obscure. Were it not for a fluke discovery its tiny but distinctive skull (less than 3cm in length) in Gooseberry Cave on Lord Howe Island in 1972, we wouldn’t know that this species ever existed!
Sadly, there has never been a recorded sighting of a living specimen to date, making the same day the species was discovered the day it would be considered extinct.
Despite initially being thought to be extinct in 1968, recent wildlife surveys in the CNMI have verified that Marianas Fruit Bats are not extinct, but close to extinction on three islands (including Saipan, the Commonwealth capitol), the species is also declining rapidly on a fourth island and is subject to illegal hunting throughout the Commonwealth, including the remote islands north of Saipan.
The Marianas Fruit Bat has been listed as an endangered species of Guam by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 1984 and has been protected by CNMI law since 1977.
The short-tailed bat is one of two species of bats in New Zealand. More significant than the New Zealand lesser short-tailed bat, there have been no confirmed sightings of this species since 1965, and it has been considered to be critically endangered, if not extinct since the year 1967.
Many diseases in history have been avoided thanks to bats eating insects that carry them, extinctions like this can prove devastating even for mankind.
The red-bellied gracile opossum is an extinct species of the opossum that in its heyday was native to Jujuy Province of Argentina.
It was seen last in 1962 and has since had its habitat destroyed by human intervention.
The Candango Mouse (Juscelinomys Candango) is an extinct rodent species from South America. Depressingly around the same time of its discovery, a surge of the urban population began within its habitat around Brazil.
The number of candango’s dropped rapidly, today the candango mouse is considered extinct.
The crescent nail-tail wallaby lived in the woodlands and scrubs of the west and center of Australia. The crescent had silky fur and, like other nail-tail wallabies, had a sharp spur at the tip of its tail.
It was the size of a hare and was the smallest nail-tail wallaby at about 15 inches tall. This sadly does not sound like the description of an animal that can survive the industrial revolution, and in 1956, it was already reported to be extinct.
The Little Swan Island hutia is an extinct species of rodent that resided on the Swan Islands, off of North-Eastern Honduras in the Caribbean Peninsula.
The little Swan was a slow-moving, guinea-pig-like rodent that most likely emerged from caves and limestone crevices to forage on bark, small twigs, and leaves.
After a five-year review, NOAA’s Fisheries Service has determined that the Caribbean monk seal has gone extinct.
The Caribbean Monk Seal has not been seen in 50 years and is the first seal to go extinct from human causes in history.
The Queen of Sheba’s gazelle also referred to as the Yemen gazelle, is an extinct species of gazelle that was sometimes regarded as a subspecies of the Arabian gazelle, which is no longer a valid species.
This majestic gazelle was once the crown jewel of Yemen, today it is lost to history. It is so sad that such an animal could be lost and so little is known about why.
The Puebla Deer Mouse, or (Peromyscus Mekisturus) is a species of the rodent family cricetids that has been listed as critically endangered by the IUCN in 1950 and is still barely holding on.
It is an omnivore that is found in the Neotropics of Central America within an urban density of 32 individuals per square kilometers.
The Zuniga’s Dark Rice Rat, also known as the Melanomys zunigae, is known only from a small region coastal region of Peru and has been listed as “critically endangered” since 1949, and many believe that it may even be extinct, as there have not been any sightings since that year.
Many extinct species have never been verified passed critically endangered despite not have been sighted for decades.
The desert bandicoot originates from the arid country in the center of Australia. The last known specimen of the species was collected in 1943 on the Canning Stock Route in Western Australia.
The bandicoot has not been spotted live since. Thus, it is presumed to be extinct.
The Toolache Wallaby was considered to be the most elegant, graceful, and swift species of Kangaroo in Australia in its heyday.
It had beautiful fur with alternating bands of darker and lighter grey across the back. Each of the groups was different, not only color but texture as well. It is believed that these markings changed either seasonally or between each individual animal. Their hops consisted of two short hops, followed by a long one, and then the wallaby would fly into the air! Sadly, they have not been spotted doing this since 1939.
De Winton’s golden mole is a species of mammal in the Chrysochloridae family that is endemic to South Africa.
Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical dry shrubland, as well as Mediterranean-type shrubby vegetation, and sandy shores. It has been on the possible extinction list since 1937, as it was threatened by human intervention.
The Tasmanian tiger, also known as the Thylacine, is one of the saddest extinction stories on this list. It was the largest marsupial predator that was able to fight its way all the way to the 20th century.
Its unique coat made it an easy pray and target for poachers, and hunters, and sadly due to human selfishness. This big elegant beast did not do so well, as even the last one known to exist died in captivity in 1936.
The desert rat-kangaroo, also known as the buff-nosed rat-kangaroo, plains rat-kangaroo or oolacunta, is a regrettably extinct small hopping marsupial that was common in the desert regions of Central Australia.
It was discovered in the early 1840s and described as very cute, elusive, and fast. However, as human populations started to grow in Australia, the Desert Rat’s population quickly dwindled until it was declared extinct in 1935.
The Indefatigable Galapagos Mouse, also known as nesoryzomys indefessus, Santa Cruz nesoryzomys or Indefatigable Galápagos mouse, is a rodent stemming from the family Cricetidae from the Galápagos Islands of Ecuador.
It contains two subspecies, but is now extinct, probably due to the introduction of black rats and other types of rats that came from Europe throughout the industrial revolution and even before it.
The lesser stick-nest rat, also known as the white-tipped stick-nest rat is an extinct species of rodent in the Muridae family. It lived in central Australia where it built nests of sticks that accumulate over the years and can become very large.
There are very few photos of the species, as there was not much interest in their existence in the first place, we were able to find this illustration though.
The Schomburgk’s deer was a member of the family Cervidae and is Native to central Thailand, Schomburgk’s deer.
This beautiful deer breed did not stand a chance against the poachers, and hunters that chased it to extinction. This is notwithstanding the fact that its habitat was destroyed entirely.
The extinction of the lesser bilby is associated with a range of factors including being hunted by cats, and foxes, as well as habitat alteration due to the impacts of exotic herbivores.
The species is presumed extinct, I personally am hoping it’s not, and we just haven’t found one. It’s a shame something this cute was lost to history.
There has only been one known specimen of the Ethiopian amphibious rat, also known as the Ethiopian water mouse. The water mouse is an insect-eating species, that can thrive both in water and inland, meaning it is semiaquatic.
Ethiopian cuisine has been known to include all types of land animals considered not to be food in the west. This is a significant portion of what contributed to the early extinction of the species.
Despite multiple attempts to find the species throughout the 20th century, the single-striped opossum has not been seen since 1899.
They were considered to be the only non-Australian marsupials, meaning they survived the dinosaur extinction, yet they could not escape the industrial revolution.
The Falkland Islands Wolf is known as the “Wolf that Confused Darwin” by National Geographic. It was first discovered when western sailors landed on the Falkland Islands and were apparently very surprised by the fact that this wolf was friendly and charming just like a dog.
The same tame fearlessness from humans is the same thing that spelled out this beautiful creature’s demise. What a shame.