20 Animals That Went Extinct In The Last 150 Years

By Charles Hoy – Wikimedia Commons

In the last 150 years, the Earth has witnessed the disappearance of numerous species, each with a unique tale of loss. Here are 20 animals that have gone extinct due to human actions, shedding light on the urgent need for conservation and a deeper understanding of our impact on the natural world.

Passenger Pigeon

By J. G. Hubbard – Wikimedia Commons

So, there was this bird called the Passenger Pigeon, right? Picture this: flocks so huge they would literally block out the sun when they flew over. However, humans hunted them like crazy, and they chopped down their forest homes until, well, there was not any left. The last one, named Martha, died in a zoo in 1914. 

Tasmanian Tiger (Thylacine)

By Biodiversity Heritage Library – Wikimedia Commons

The Tasmanian Tiger looked like a big, weird dog with stripes, but it was actually a marsupial, like kangaroos. It lived in Australia and Tasmania, but by the 1930s, it was gone. People were actually paid to hunt them because they were thought to be a threat to livestock. The last known one died in a zoo in 1936. 


By Ermell – Wikimedia Commons

This animal was kind of like a zebra, but only half-striped, with just the front part of its body having the usual zebra patterns. The rest was more like a plain, brown horse. It lived in South Africa, but it was hunted to extinction for its skin and meat. The last one died in a zoo in Amsterdam way back in 1883. 

Pyrenean Ibex

By Roger Culos – Wikimedia Commons

The Pyrenean Ibex was a type of wild mountain goat found in the Pyrenees mountains between France and Spain. They were all gone by 2000, but scientists actually managed to clone one in 2003. The only thing is, the clone died just minutes after being born because of lung problems. 

Steller’s Sea Cow

By Unknown Author – L’Ouvrière, n° 26, 17 décembre 1898 (Gallica), Public Domain – Wikimedia Commons

Imagine a huge marine animal, like 30 feet long and weighing 10 tons. That was Steller’s Sea Cow. They were related to manatees and lived in the icy waters of the North Pacific. Sadly, they were easy targets for hunters because they were big and moved slowly. They were wiped out by 1768 and lived only 27 years after we found them! 

Baiji River Dolphin

By Roland Seitre – Wikimedia Commons

This one hits hard because it was the first dolphin species driven to extinction by humans. The Baiji lived in the Yangtze River in China, but its habitat got really messed up because of pollution, boat traffic, and overfishing. They were these graceful swimmers, almost mythical, but the last confirmed sighting was in 2002, the one pictured above. 

West African Black Rhinoceros

By Senckenberg Museum – Wikimedia Commons

This rhino was massive and tough-looking, but that did not save it from poachers. They were hunted for their horns, which were believed to have medicinal properties, which is just not true. By 2006, this subspecies was declared extinct. It is a sobering example of how poaching can completely wipe out an entire species. 

Pinta Island Tortoise

By Mike Weston – Wikimedia Commons

Ever heard of Lonesome George? He was the last of the Pinta Island tortoises from the Galápagos. These tortoises were huge and lived really long lives, but they could not survive the threats brought by humans, like hunting and non-native animals eating their eggs. George died in 2012, and with him, his whole species. 

Golden Toad

By Charles H. Smithvergrößert von Aglarech – Wikimedia Commons

These toads were as cool as their name, bright orange and shiny like little living gems. They were only found in a small area in Costa Rica, in misty, high-altitude forests. But by 1989, they were gone. Scientists think a mix of climate change and pollution led to the extinction. 

Caribbean Monk Seal

Public Domain – Wikimedia Commons

You know, there used to be a seal that hung out around the Caribbean Sea’s beaches, probably chilling where pirates once roamed. It was the only type of seal from that area, and sadly, people hunted it for oil. The last time anyone saw one was back in 1952. 

Toolache Wallaby

By John Gould – John Gould, F.R.S., Mammals of Australia, Vol. II Plate 19, London, 1863 – Wikimedia Commons

Down in Australia, there was this wallaby known for moving as smoothly as a dancer. But by the 1930s, they were gone. Farming took over their land, and they were hunted relentlessly. They needed just the right conditions to live, which just was not possible anymore with humans expanding everywhere.

Javan Tiger

By Collectie Wereldmuseum (v/h Tropenmuseum), part of the National Museum of World Cultures – Wikimedia Commons

Imagine a tiger, but just a tad smaller than the big ones you have seen from India. The Javan tiger roamed around Indonesia’s Java island. But between the trees being cut down and too much hunting, they did not stand a chance. By the 1970s, as more and more people moved to Java, these tigers went into extinction.

Caspian Tiger

By Unknown, Syrian – Camio, Public Domain – Wikimedia Commons

Much like the Javan tiger, the Caspian tiger once roamed the lands around the Caspian Sea, crossing several countries. But by the 1970s, they were gone, lost to hunting and losing their natural spaces. It is a classic sad tale of what happens when big animals cannot roam free like they used to.

Formosan Clouded Leopard

By SSR2000 – Wikimedia Commons

Over in Taiwan, there was this clouded leopard with a stunning coat that looked almost like smoke. The last time anyone saw one was in the 1980s. What got them? Well, lots of trees were cut down, and people poached them. They were naturally secretive, and losing their forest homes meant they just could not make it.

Ivory-billed Woodpecker

By Arthur A. Allen – Wikimedia Commons

Often referred to as the “Lord God Bird,” the ivory-billed woodpecker was one of the largest woodpeckers in the world and was native to the southeastern United States. With striking black and white markings and a prominent red crest, it was a sight to behold. Its decline was precipitated by widespread deforestation, which destroyed its habitat.

Atitlán Grebe

By Extinct – Website, Fair Use – Wikimedia Commons

This bird, native to Guatemala’s Lake Atitlán, was known for its inability to fly long distances, preferring to paddle through the lake’s waters. It suffered greatly from habitat destruction and the introduction of non-native species like the large-mouth bass, which altered its food chain. The last sighting was in 1989, and it was declared extinct shortly thereafter. 

Round Island Burrowing Boa

By UBA01:IZ11900105, Iconographia Zoologica: een papieren dierenrijk, Universiteit van Amsterdam – Wikimedia Commons

Native to Round Island, a tiny island off Mauritius, this snake species was last seen in the wild in the 1970s. It was unique in its habits, burrowing into sandy soils and feeding on birds and their eggs. Habitat degradation and the introduction of invasive species to its limited island home led to its extinction. 

Great Auk

By John James Audubon, Bird Artist of America. (1785-1851) – University of Pittsburgh, Public Domain – Wikimedia Commons

The Great Auk was kind of like the penguins we know, except it lived in the North Atlantic. It could not fly, which made it easy prey for hunters after its feathers and meat. The last known ones were killed in the mid-1800s on an Icelandic island. Just like that, a whole species vanished.

Tecopa Pupfish

By E. Theriot / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – Ono, R.D., J.D. Williams, and A. Wagner. (1983) Vanishing Fishes of North America. Stone Wall Press, Inc., Washington, DC 257 pp., Public Domain – Wikimedia Commons

The Tecopa Pupfish, native to the hot springs of the Mojave Desert in California, was a small, resilient fish adapted to extreme and fluctuating temperatures. Sadly, it became extinct in 1982, making it the first species listed under the Endangered Species Act to go extinct. The introduction of new bathhouses and the diversion of water sources led to the loss of its habitat.

Zanzibar Leopard

By Peter Maas – Wikimedia Commons

In Zanzibar, leopards were seen as bad omens or linked to witches, so they were hunted a lot. By the late 1990s, they were considered extinct, though there are rumors some might still be out there. It is a stark reminder of how our fears and myths can lead to an animal’s downfall.


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