As kids, we grew up learning about animals like the Dinosaurs, Dodo, and Mammoths that were extinct from the face of the earth before any of us were even born. As teenagers, we grew up learning about animals like the One Horned Rhino, Bengal Tiger, and River Dolphin which are on the verge of getting extinct if proper care and steps are not taken to protect them. But now, as adults, we have not learned of the fact that many animals have gone extinct in the 21st century. The 21st century marked the existential deadline of several unique animal species that shared the Earth with us. Here are the top 5 species:
Pinta Island Tortoise (Chelonoidis abingdonii)
Tortoises are supposed to be the longest living animal species on this planet. Several species can live up to 100 years. But the Pinta Island Tortoise and its generations said bye to the world in 2012. Also known as the Pinta Giant Tortoise, it dwelled in the native Pinta Island. A major population of this species was wiped out due to massive hunting and destruction of its ecosystem. The tribes got with them goats that overgrazed the land leaving hardly anything for these species of the tortoise to feed on. By the 20th century, it was assumed that this tortoise was extinct. But later a single male was discovered and was named as ‘Lonesome George’. He died 40 years later in 2012 at the Santa Cruz rearing center after a long failed attempt at finding him a mate. Although many species of tortoises at Wolf Volcano are found to be half Pinta, the entire original race of this archaic species is wiped out.
Eastern Cougar (Puma concolor cougar)
This beast has been officially classified as extinct by the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) in 2011, although another parallel Canadian organization has evaded statistics to this question. The species is known by a lot of names like the painter, panther, mountain lion, catamount, etc. and had established its empire in the regions starting from Southern Canada to the tip of South America. This royal species had been erased from two-thirds of their original range. While two subspecies of the Cougars are still populating, the 2011 survey by the USFWS officially declared the Eastern Cougar as extinct. The reason for its extinction is blamed on the European migration population which killed these species to protect their livestock and families.
Pyrenean Ibex (Capra pyrenaica pyrenaica)
This majestic deer species was one out of the four subspecies of the Spanish Ibex. It was seen to be endemic to the Iberian Peninsula. The unique characteristic of this species is seen in the horns. The male Ibex grew a ridge per year and thus having seams equal to its age. The beauty of the horns lies in its curves and smooth surface. On the other hand, the female Ibex looked similar to a female deer. The cause of their extinction is said to be exploitative poaching and hunting and overgrazing by domesticated horses, goats and sheep also led to their extinction due to loss of environment. Although the species were beyond saving, scientists did try to clone the species by storing the skin and bone material of the last found female Ibex of the name Celia. They tried inserting the cloned DNA in the eggs of goats but failed. Only one was carried to term but died within minutes. This is the sad story of the Pyrenean Ibex, also known as the Bucardo.
Formosan Clouded Leopard (Neofelis Nebulosa Brachyuran)
These giant cats were a subspecies of the clouded leopard found in Taiwan. Since 2000, the search for the Formosan Clouded Leopard has been going on in several parts of Taiwan, but the search has been unsuccessful. Destruction of habitat and overhunting for their skins has led to their decline. The skin of the Formosan clouded leopard is seen to be precious and is believed to have magic healing powers in many parts of Taiwan. The tooth and the claws too are said to have medicinal properties, and therefore, these animal species were hunted down ruthlessly by the locals of the land.
Vietnamese Rhino (Rhinoceros sondaicus Annamiticus)
Many species of the Rhino in many parts of the world are facing an extinction crisis. Many species are either critically endangered or are rapidly decreasing concerning population size. This is due to poaching and hunting for their horns which are considered priceless and for its believed medicinal properties. One such species – the Vietnamese Javan Rhino is deemed to be extinct in the North East of India, Bangladesh, and parts of Indonesia which were the natural habitat of the Javan Rhino. The IUCN has officially declared these unique beauties as extinct. DNA analysis showed that the last member of this species – was a female Rhino of 15 years of age. Despite a lot of investment from the side of the Indonesian government, poaching and hunting overthrew the investment and actions taken to conserve this species.
This article is more of an eye opener, rather than an encyclopedia fast fact article about animals. It should be an alarm that wakes us up to reality showing us how we Humans, considered the most intellectual of all species, that dominates the food chain is the only species that is spoiling the earth around us and all other beings we are supposed to live in harmony with. Better education, slogans, campaigning has proved to be useless in helping conserving animals. If not these conventional solutions, then what will work? So readers, if you have any unique solutions that can help save our remaining species of animals, like, share and communicate your ideas along with this article.