These exclusive and only photos of 10 extinct animals are simply amazing. How I wish all of them still exists so I can show them to my children and future grandchildren.
Last Tarpan seen in 1890
The Tarpan, or Eurasian Wild Horse, lived in the wild until sometime between 1875-1890, with the last wild one killed during an attempt the capture it. The last one in captivity died in 1918. Tarpans stood slightly under 5′ tall at the shoulder, with a thick mane, a grullo colored body with dark legs, with dorsal and shoulder stripes. There’s some debate about whether the photo above is a genuine Tarpan, but the image, from 1884 is claimed to be the only photo of a live Tarpan.
Last Quagga seen in 1883.
Only one Quagga was ever photographed, the female above, taken at the London Zoo. In the wild, the Quagga, a subspecies of the plains zebra, was found in great numbers in South Africa. However, the Quagga was hunted to extinction for meat, hides, and to preserve feed for domesticated animals. The last wild Quagga was shot in the 1970s, with the last one held in captivity dying in
Last Thylacine seen in 1936.
The largest carnivorous marsupial in modern times (standing about 2′ tall and 6′ long including the tail), the Thylacine once lived in mainland Australia and New Guinea, by the time of European settlement it was already nearly extinct, due to human activity. In Tasmania however (hence, the more common name of Tasmanian tiger or Tasmanian wolf) it lived on, with the last one confirmed killed in the wild in 1930. The last Thylacine in captivity, pictured above, died in 1936.
Last Barbary Lion seen in 1922.
the Barbary lion (also known as the Atlas lion or Nubian lion) was the largest and heaviest of the lion subspecies. Unlike other lions, due to scarcity of food in its habitat, the Barbary lion did not live in prides. The last wild Barbary lion was shot in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco in 1922. However, questions remain about whether some lions held in captivity at zoos or in circuses may be descendants of the Barbary lion. Historical note: Lions used in gladiatorial combat in Roman times were most likely Barbary lions. The photo above dates from 1893 and was taken in Algeria.
Seychelles Giant Tortoise
Last Seychelles Giant Tortoise seen in 1840s
There’s some controversy over whether the Seychelles Giant Tortoise is extinct altogether or just extinct in the wild. In the 19th century the Seychelles Giant Tortoise, much like similar tortoise species on other Indian Ocean islands, was hunted to extinction. Prior to being wiped out in the wild by the 1840s, it lived only the edges of marshes and streams, grazing on vegetation.
Last Caspian Tiger seen in 1887.
the Caspian tiger was one of the largest cat species to ever exist, only slightly smaller than the massive Siberian tiger. Once living from the shores of the Black sea, through those of the Caspian sea and on through what’s now northern Iran, into Afghanistan, the former Soviet republics of Central Asia and on into far western China, the Caspian tiger was systematically hunted to extinction. This began in the late 19th century, with the Russian colonization of Turkestan. Regionally they began their road to extinction in 1887 in Iraq, with the last confirmed sightings happening in the 1970s in the border region of Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Afghanistan. Unconfirmed sightings continued on until the early 1990s.
Pinta Island Tortoise
Last Pinta Island Tortoise seen in 2012.
The Pinta Island Tortoise, a subspecies of the Galápagos tortoise, may be the most recent large animal to be declared extinct. The last of the line, the over 100-year old male dubbed Lonesome George (that’s him, above), died on June 24, 2012 from heart failure. The species had been presumed extinct by the middle part of the 20th century, with the large majority of them killed by the end of the 19th century, but in 1971 George was discovered. In addition to hunting by humans, introduction of non-native species such as goats contributed to habitat loss leading to the demise of the tortoise.
Last Bali Tiger seen in 1937.
The last confirmed Bali tiger was killed in September of 1937, with small numbers suspected to have lived on until the 1940s or 1950s. Habitat loss and hunting by humans (largely Europeans, not the Balinese) killed them off. Bali tigers had shorter, darker fur than other tigers, and were the size of leopards or mountain lions.
Last Golden Toad seen in 1989
the Golden Toad is an iconic species when it comes to extinction. Only described to science in 1966, and once abundant in a 30 square mile area of the cloud forest above Monteverde, Costa Rica, none of the 2″ long toads have been sighted since the 15th of May 1989. The reason for sudden extinction is not conclusively known, but habitat loss and chytrid fungus are the likely culprits. Regional weather changes brought about by El Niño conditions are also suspected to have played a role in killing off the last of the Golden Toads.
Western Black Rhino
Last Western Black Rhino seen in 2006.
The plight of the rhinoceros due to poaching has been well documented here on TreeHugger, and the Western Black Rhino is a graphic example. Once widespread in central west Africa, in 2011 it was declared extinct. Though conservation efforts, beginning in the 1930s, helped population recover from historic hunting, by the 1980s protection for the species waned and poaching soared. At the start of the 21st century just 10 individuals remained. By 2006 these has all been killed.