Over the years, we have lost a lot of animals one way or the other. Most of them went extinct from the face of the Earth due to our reckless activities such as deforestation, hunting, climate change and so on. Some of the changes were natural which included diseases and natural calamities. Here, we look at a few animals which have got extinct throughout the centuries.
Passenger Pigeons: Once the most abundant bird, found in billions in North America in the 19th century, the passenger pigeon became extinct in the early 20th century. How did this happen? Hunting on a massive scale and cutting down trees to make way for cities!
Martha, the world’s last passenger pigeon, died on 1 September 1914 at the Cincinnati Zoo.
European Aurochs: Their time on Earth dates back to over two million years ago in India. Since then, these large-sized bulls migrated through the Middle East and then to the eastern European plains. They kept the forest mixed with grasslands throughout the central Asian and Mediterranean regions.
They got extinct in 1627. Unrestricted hunting and narrowing of their habitat due to the increase of farmlands were the main causes for their extinction.
Carolina Parakeet Parrot: The green orange and yellow-necked Carolina parakeets were probably poisonous. The American naturalist and painter John J. Audubon noted that cats apparently died after eating the parakeets, which were known to have eaten the toxic seeds of cockle burs.
The parakeets were hunted to death for their feathers. Yet again, massive deforestation in the Northern American continent was one of the main reasons for their extinction.
Heath Hen: Heath hens were common all over North America. They were hunted all over the continent for their delicious meat which is why they are now extinct.
They featured at the Thanksgiving Dinner way before turkey became a craze.
Thylacine: Also known as the Tasmanian tiger or Tasmanian wolf, the thylacine looked like a mix of a kangaroo and a dog. It had dark stripes which radiated from the top of its back, making it look like a tiger. In 1936, the thylacine became extinct.
Why did they go extinct? Well, the same old story of hunting, humans messing with their settlements and so on.
Bucardo: Bucardo was a subspecies of Ibex or wild goat found in southeast France. On 6 January 2000, the last female ibex Celia died. Why the animal went extinct is still a mystery.
Dinosaurs: They perished 66 million years ago after ruling our planet for over 135 million years. These giant lizards went extinct because of reasons still not fully discovered – some of which range from climate change to striking of a meteorite to the shifting of continents.
The fear of extinction still hovers, with a lot of animals important to our ecosystem on the endangered list. The long list comprise rhinos, tigers and Asiatic lions to name a few.
Modern science with its new techniques in genetic engineering is catching up to bring back to life extinct species. Let us hope for the best! We would love to see a dinosaur outside the museums for a change.