Throughout history, there’s plenty of evidence that points to the fact that human intervention caused the majority of the destruction in the animal kingdom. Mankind indulged in hunting to such an extent that they eliminated some of the most beautiful species from the planet. Here’s a list of 10 animals that became extinct thanks to mankind!
Number 10: Bubal Hartebeest
This beautiful antelope served as a sacrificial animal and food source for several people for thousands of years. Their origin can be traced back to Northern Africa. Even today one can still find their mummified horns in ancient Egyptian tombs. They could be widely seen till 1870 as far as Tunisia, but hunting dwindled their population to almost nothing. The last one was shot in Algeria in the 1930’s.
Number 9: Western Black Rhinoceros
Their existence can be dated back to about 7-8 million years ago in savannahs and their importance could be gauged as they survived as the top mammal on the food chain. They were hunted down by poachers for their ivory tusks. When protection measures were taken to save this animal from getting extinct in the 1930’s, positive results could be seen. As the efforts decreased, so to did their numbers. Their extinction was confirmed in the year 2011.
Number 8: The Giant Moa
They were the relatives of the Australian emu reaching to 12 feet in height with their necks stretched out and weighing up to 278kg! Prior to the arrival of humans, giant moa had had an ecologically stable population in New Zealand for at least 40,000 years. The giant moa was wiped out by Polynesian settlers, who hunted it for food. It is reliably known that the Māori still hunted them at the beginning of the fifteenth century, driving them into pits and robbing their nests. Although some birds became extinct due to farming, for which the forests were cut and burned down and the ground was turned into arable land, the giant moa had been extinct for 300 years prior to the arrival of European settlers.
Number 7: The Great Auk
A flightless bird and an excellent swimmer that made the waters of North Atlantic it’s home was hunted down to extinction using fishing bait. They were a food source for the fishermen and their feathers and skin were in high demand in Europe. The last pair of Auks were killed on Eldey Island for an exhibit in a museum in 18.
Number 6: Steller’s Sea Cow
The herbivore mammal was named after its discoverer George Steller, who was on an expedition in the Bering Sea in 1741. They graze on kelp like cows and they used their short arms to walk in the shallow water of the ocean. They are the gigantic relatives of the warm water Manatees which faces a similar fate. The hunters hunted them to extinction at a rate of seven times the average count and the sea cows vanished in just 27 years for their meat and skin.
Number 5: The Caribbean Monk Seal
One of the recent cases of extinctions of the time is that of the Carribean Monk Seal. In the early 1600’s, they were hunted for their extensive oil deposits and furs. There were not enough number of monk seals to poach in the middle of the nineteenth century and no efforts were made to save the remaining. Ultimately, in the year 2008, they were declared extinct.
Number 4: The Aurochs
The modern bovine can be called its distant relative and this extinct species used to live in European, Asian, and the Indian subcontinent. They roamed in herds of 30 and weighed approximately 2000 pounds. Ancient civilizations used them for battles and sporting events because these beasts were massive and ferocious. The cause for their extinction was the excessive hunting and destruction of their habitat by humans. The Royal Families of various countries initiated conservation efforts, but it was too late. The last female died in 1627 in Poland. There is an effort to rewild these animals but it is currently seeking funding.
Number 3: The Heath Hen
The heath hen was a distinctive subspecies of the greater Prairie chicken, a large North American bird in the grouse family. Heath hens lived in the scrubby heathland barrens of coastal North America from southernmost New Hampshire to northern Virginia. Heath hens were extremely common in their habitat during Colonial times when they were hunted by settlers extensively for food. In fact, many have speculated that the Pilgrims’ first Thanksgiving dinner featured heath hens and not wild turkeys. By the late 18th century, the heath hen had a reputation as poor man’s food for being so cheap and plentiful. Overhunting led to their eventual extinction in 1932.
Number 2: The Dodo Bird
These flightless birds made Malaysia as their abode where they lived happily with no natural predators. The first recorded mention of the Dodo bird was by a Dutch sailor in 1598. It laid a single egg once a year and its evolution was such that it was incapable of defending itself from predators. When humans settled, they destroyed dodo bird’s natural habitat, and they brought outside predators that killed them. And that’s how the dodos got extinct!
Number 1: The Passenger Pigeon
Passenger or Wild Pigeons were once the most abundant birds native to North America. They numbered in the billions and were probably the most abundant birds in the world. But, when the colonists arrived in the North America, they destroyed the pigeon’s natural habitat to create their own. Their constant and frequent resettlement resulted in the reduction in their numbers. The major blow to their population was when they were hunted for commercialization as a cheap food for slaves and poor. The last female survivor, Martha, died in the Cincinnati Zoological Garden in 1924.
Which of these animals would you have loved to see? Do you know of any other animals us humans have hunted to extinction? If you do why not let us know in the comments below.