Since time immemorial, human beings have hunted down animals and messed with the environment for their own ease and comfort. We might consider ourselves the most evolved species on this planet, but we have used our ‘superior skills’ to satiate our selfish ends, all at the cost of wiping out entire species of animals from the face of the Earth.
Here are 11 species that our future generations will never see because of our selfishness.
1. Great Auk
The great auk ( Pinguinus impennis ) was a flightless coastal bird that lived on rocky islands around the North Atlantic, including in Canada, Greenland, Iceland, the British Isles and Scandinavia.
Up until the late 18th century, they were hunted down in huge numbers. The rare birds soon became a prized specimen for collectors and they were driven to extinction by the mid-1850s. The killing of the last mating pair happened on July 3, 1844, by Sigurour Isleifsson and two other men who had been hired by a merchant to hunt the birds.
The dodos belonged to the pigeon and dove family and were native to the island of Mauritius. Back in 1598, Dutch travellers were the first to discover this unique species. Dodo’s laid only one egg a year and with the onset of human invasion, their survival came under major threat.
The importing of dogs, cats, pigs, rats and crab-eating macaques is what really killed the species. The bird eventually faded into oblivion, so much so that “dead as a dodo” and “to go the way of the dodo” are two famous phrases inspired by the death of the species.
3. Elephant Bird
The Elephant Bird, (Aepyornis), was the largest bird that ever lived. At 10-foot-tall, this 1,000-pound behemoth once roamed the island of Madagascar. Related to ostriches and emus, the elephant bird evolved at a time when birds ruled the earth and had existed for 60 million years. But thanks to humans, the bird was hunted into extinction.
4.Thylacines (Tasmanian Tigers)
The Tasmanian Tiger was an incredibly unique species. It had the head of a dog, stripes of a cat and the pouch of a kangaroo. Their killing started after farmers complained about their livestock going missing, and the only way out was to exterminate them on a large scale.
Another reason for their extinction was the Van Diemen’s Land Company, which hunted it down for its fur. By 1936, the last known thylacine named “Benjamin,” died at the Hobart zoo.
The Muskox inhabited the Arctic for thousands of years, and their long shaggy hair was well adapted to the bitter cold. Over-hunting in the 1900s until the 1930s forced this species off the face of the planet. They were mostly killed for their hides or just to keep as trophies!
6. Mediterranean Monk Seals
This species comes under the world’s most critically endangered marine mammals category. Industrial pollution and rise of concretes jungle is mostly responsible the Mediterranean Monk Seals’ extinction. Over-fishing has also played a major role in its death. To keep them from eating fish, they were mercilessly shoot them down.
7. Barbary Lions
Barbary, or Atlas lions once roamed the deserts and mountains of northern Africa from Morocco to Egypt. The largest lion subspecies, they were admired for their size and dark manes. They were also hunted to extinction, but the period remains unclear. One story claims that a hunter shot the last wild Barbary lion in 1942, others say it was as late as 1960.
A type of wolf, the warrah was the only land mammal found in the Falkland Islands, which was uninhabited by humans until the 1760s. The wolves were safe till then, but after human inhabitation. the numbers began to drop steadily. When settlers arrived, they saw the wolves as a threat to their livestock.
9. Schomburgk’s Deer
Once found in Thailand, the deer was known to have magic antlers which had the power to cure diseases. Human settlement and agriculture destroyed most of their liveable habitat. . The last wild Schomburgk’s deer was killed in 1932, and the last domesticated deer died in 1938.
10. Tecopa Pupfish
The Tecopa Pupfish lived in the Mojave Desert in the outflows of water from the South and North Tecopa Hot Springs. The males were bright blue and females were striped. They were small and ate larva.
In the 1950s, bathhouses and spring pools were expanded to accommodate those who came to enjoy a swim. That caused the fish to be pushed downstream. The currents were much swifter and the waters were colder and the Tecopa pupfish became extinct in or around 1970. The last sighting was on February 2, 1970.
11. Sea Mink
Prized for its fur, this tiny creature was vigorously hunted until its extinction in the 1860s. Found in the Falkland Islands, the Sea Mink is the only other terrestrial mammal to have been wiped out from existence.