Moa a goer? 10 animals driven to extinction

By Rhonwyn Newson

The last known thylacine photographed at Beaumaris Zoo in 1933.
The last known thylacine photographed at Beaumaris Zoo in 1933.

Labour MP Trevor Mallard hopes there will be Moa roaming the Rimutaka Forest Park above Wainuiomata in 50-100 years. He insisted de-extinction is inevitable.

Read more:
Cunliffe mows down Mallard's moa resurrection plan

"I'm absolutely certain that at some point in the future, a whole pile of species that area currently extinct will be brought back to life ... The moa will be a goer, but we're talking to 50 to 100 years out."

The moa were driven to extinction due to human activities - over-hunting and habitat destruction. Here are 10 other animals that are now extinct.

1. Pyrenean Ibex

The Pyrenean Ibex was a subspecies of the Iberian wild goat that went extinct in 2000.

The Pyrenean Ibex was the first species to ever be brought back into existence via cloning in 2009, only to go extinct again just seven minutes after being born due to lung failure.

it was a native to the Pyrenees, a mountain range in Andorra, France and Spain.

2. Passenger Pigeon

One of the most common birds in the US, the passenger pigeon once blackened the sky as it roamed in flocks numbering in the billions. While passenger pigeons were hunted as a crop nuisance for years, it wasn't until pigeon meat became popular that things took a turn for the worst.

It took less than 100 years for the species to be wiped out.

The last passenger pigeon died in a Cincinnati zoo in 1914. Her name was Martha.

3. Quagga

The Quagga was a southern subspecies of the Plains Zebra. It differed from other zebras mainly in having stripes on the head, neck, and front portion of its body only, and having brownish, rather than white, on its upper parts. The last Quagga, a mare, died August 12, 1883, in Amsterdam Zoo, where she had lived since May 9, 1867.

Since 1987, the South Africa-based Quagga Project has been using selective breeding among plains zebras to mimic the animal's unique markings.

4. Tasmanian Tiger

The Thylacine was the largest modern carnivorous marsupial, according to the Smithsonian Institution. They once existed across the Australian continent, but their habitat had been reduced to the island of Tasmania by the time European settlers arrived.

The Thylacine was finally recognised as being in danger of becoming extinct in 1936, but that same year the last Thylacine died as the result of neglect - locked out of its sheltered sleeping quarters and exposed to freezing temperatures at night in Hobart Zoo, Tasmania.

5. Caribbean Monk Seal

Last seen in the early 1950s, the Caribbean monk seal (Monachus tropicalis) was declared extinct in 2008 after a five-year review by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Marine Fisheries Service.

The Caribbean monk seal was the first New World mammal to be discovered by Columbus on the coast of Santo Domingo in 1494. Columbus promptly ordered his crew to kill eight of the animals, which he called "sea-wolves", for food, according to the account of Columbus' second voyage to America.

6. Javan Tiger


Javan tiger in Ujung Kulon National Park, 1938. Photo / Andries Hoogerwerf

The Javan tiger was a tiger subspecies native to the Indonesian island of Java that likely became extinct in the mid-1970s.

The leading cause of their extinction was agricultural encroachment and habitat loss, which continues to be a serious concern in Java.

7. West African black rhinoceros

The West African black rhinoceros was a subspecies of the black rhino that was declared extinct in 2011.

The subspecies last existed in Cameroon, but an extensive survey in 2006 did not find any signs of living West African black rhinos. Poaching for rhino horn has been blamed.

8. Tecopa Pupfish

The Tecopa Pupfish was native in the Mojave Desert, in Inyo County, California, US. This fish subspecies was originally found only in the outflows of North and South Tecopa Hot Springs and could stand waters as warm as 42.2 degrees C.

Hotels and trailer parks near the springs in the mid-20th century and the channeling of two springs together left the habitat unsuitable for the small fish.

9. Baiji River Dolphin

The Baiji River Dolphin was native to the Yangtze River in China. The freshwater dolphin was nearly blind and quite intelligent. A 2006 expedition searched the Yangtze for six weeks, but didn't find any Baiji, marking an end to a species that had been a part of the river since ancient times.

The aquatic mammal had fallen prey to hunters and fishermen, as fishing boats, complete with their entangling gear, began to crowd the river in the 1950s and '60s.

10. Sea Mink

The sea mink once lived along the coasts of Maine and New Brunswick, but was prized for its fur and was hunted to extinction in the second half of the 19th century.

Next story: World 'on the verge of next mass extinction'

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