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2014-11-07


Portal:Extinct and endangered species/Previous articles ...

The American bison (Bison bison), also commonly known as the American buffalo, is a North American species of bison that once roamed the grasslands of North America in massive herds, became nearly extinct by a combination of commercial hunting and slaughter in the 19th century and introduction of bovine diseases from domestic cattle, and has made a recent resurgence largely restricted to a few national parks and reserves. Their historical range roughly comprised a triangle between the Great Bear Lake in Canada's far northwest, south to the Mexican states of Durango and Nuevo León, and east to the Atlantic Seaboard of the United States (nearly to the Atlantic tidewater in some areas) from New York to Georgia and per some sources down to Florida, also in North Carolina where bison were seen near Buffalo Ford on the Catawba River as late as 1750.



2014-09-03


Portal:Extinct and endangered species/Previous pictures ...

The Negros fruit dove (Ptilinopus arcanus) is a species of bird in the pigeon and dove family Columbidae. It is endemic to the island of Negros in the Philippines. This fruit dove is known from a single female specimen collected from the slopes of Mount Kanlaon in the northern part of the island. While it was found at a high elevation, it is suspected that the species originally lived in the lowland dipterocarp forests and was driven to higher elevations by habitat destruction. While some have suggested that the specimen is either a runt or a hybrid instead of a valid species, this is not widely accepted. The female Negros fruit dove was a small fruit dove with vivid dark green plumage and an ashy-grey forehead. It had a distinctive ring of bare yellow skin around its eye, and yellow fringes to some of its feathers gave it the appearance of having a yellow wingbar when perched. The throat was white, while the undertail and vent were yellow.




2014-06-15


The Black Market Trade for Endangered Animals Flourishes on the Web

Lemurs (/ˈliːmər/ LEE-mər) are a clade of strepsirrhine primates endemic to the island of Madagascar. The word "lemur" derives from the word lemures (ghosts or spirits) from Roman mythology and was first used to describe a slender loris due to its nocturnal habits and slow pace, but was later applied to the primates on Madagascar. Although lemurs often are confused with ancestral primates, the anthropoid primates (monkeys, apes, and humans) did not evolve from them; instead, lemurs merely share morphological and behavioral traits with basal primates. Lemurs arrived in Madagascar around 62 to 65 mya by rafting on mats of vegetation at a time when ocean currents favored oceanic dispersal to the island. Since that time, lemurs have evolved to cope with an extremely seasonal environment and their adaptations give them a level of diversity that rivals that of all other primate groups. Until shortly after humans arrived on the island around 2,000 years ago, there were lemurs as large as a male gorilla. Today, there are nearly 100 species of lemurs, and most of those species have been discovered or promoted to full species status since the 1990s; however, lemur taxonomic classification is controversial and depends on which species concept is used. Even the higher-level taxonomy is disputed, with some experts preferring to place most lemurs within the infraorder Lemuriformes, while others prefer Lemuriformes to contain all living strepsirrhines, placing all lemurs in superfamily Lemuroidea and all lorises and galagos in superfamily Lorisoidea.

2013-09-14


China's Wealthy Are Banking on Extinction | TakePart

The golden toad (Bufo periglenes) was a small, shiny, bright true toad that was once abundant in a small region of high-altitude cloud-covered tropical forests, about 10 square kilometres (3.9 sq mi) in area, north of the city of Monteverde, Costa Rica. For this reason, it is sometimes also called the Monteverde golden toad, or the Monte Verde toad. Other common English names include Alajuela toad and orange toad. They were first described in 1966 by the herpetologist Jay Savage. On 15 May 1989, a single male was found, and not a single B. periglenes is reported to have been seen anywhere in the world since, and it is classified by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as an extinct species. Its sudden extinction might have been caused by chytrid fungus and extensive habitat loss.

2013-07-07


Endangered Species - KIDS DISCOVER

The Giant sable antelope, (Hippotragus niger variani), also known in Portuguese as the palanca-negra-gigante, is a large, rare subspecies of sable antelope native and endemic to the region between the Cuango and Luando Rivers in Angola.

There was a great degree of uncertainty regarding the number of animals that survived during the Angolan civil war. In January 2004, a group from the Centro de Estudos e Investigação Científica of the Catholic University of Angola, led by Dr. Pedro vaz Pinto, was able to obtain photographic evidence of one of the remaining herds from a series of trap cameras installed in the Cangandala National Park, south of Malanje.

The giant sable antelope is the national symbol of Angola, and is held in a great regard by its people. This was perhaps one of the reasons the animals survived the long civil war. In African mythology, just like other antelopes, they symbolize vivacity, velocity, beauty and visual sharpness.

The giant sable antelope is evaluated as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.


2013-06-03


From the forest giraffe to the flufftail: Shocking report reveals ...

The Zino's Petrel or Freira (Pterodroma madeira) is a small seabird in the gadfly petrel genus which is endemic to the island of Madeira. This long-winged petrel has a grey back and wings, with a dark "W" marking across the wings, and a grey upper tail. The undersides of the wings are blackish apart from a triangle of white at the front edge near the body, and the belly is white with grey flanks. It is very similar in appearance to the slightly larger Fea's Petrel, and separating these two Macaronesian species at sea is very challenging. Zino's was formerly considered to be a subspecies of the Soft-plumaged Petrel, P. mollis, but they are not closely related, and Zino's was raised to species status because of differences in morphology, calls, breeding behaviour and mitochondrial DNA. It is Europe's most endangered seabird, with breeding areas restricted to a few ledges high in the central mountains of Madeira.

2013-04-18



The Réunion Ibis or Réunion Sacred Ibis (Threskiornis solitarius) is an extinct species of ibis that was endemic to the volcanic island of Réunion in the Indian Ocean. The first sub-fossil remains were found in 1974, and the ibis was first scientifically described in 1987. Its closest relatives are the Malagasy Sacred Ibis, the African Sacred Ibis, and the Straw-necked Ibis.

Travellers' accounts from the 17th and 18th centuries described a white bird that flew with difficulty, and it was subsequently referred to as the Réunion Solitaire. In the mid‐19th century, the old travellers accounts were incorrectly assumed to refer to white relatives of the Dodo, due to one account specifically mentioning Dodos on the island, and because 17th-century paintings of white Dodos had recently surfaced. However, no fossils referable to Dodo-like birds were ever found on Réunion, and it was later questioned whether the paintings had anything to do with the island. Other identities were suggested as well, based only on speculation. In the late 20th century, the discovery of a subfossil ibis led to the idea that the old accounts actually referred to an ibis species instead. The idea that the solitaire and the subfossil ibis are identical has only met with limited dissent, and is now widely accepted.

2012-09-01



Rabbs' fringe-limbed treefrog is a species of frogs in the family Hylidae. They are relatively large frogs inhabiting the forest canopies of central Panama. Like other members of the genus Ecnomiohyla, they are capable of gliding by spreading their enormous and fully webbed hands and feet during descent. The males of the species are highly territorial, guarding water-filled tree holes used for breeding. They are also the ones responsible for guarding and caring for the young, including providing food. They are the only known species of frog where the tadpoles derive nutrition by feeding on the skin cells of their fathers.

The species is officially listed as Critically Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) as of 2009. It is believed that the species may be extinct in the wild due to the epidemic of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in its native range. Despite the efforts of several conservation teams, captive breeding programs have all failed. The last known female of the species died in 2009. It was survived by two other individuals, both males. On February 17, 2012, one of the two was euthanized at Zoo Atlanta in Georgia due to failing health. The last known surviving member of the species, an adult male, currently resides at the Atlanta Botanical Garden.

2012-06-21



The Hoopoe Starling (Fregilupus varius), also known as Bourbon Crested Starling, Huppe, Crested Starling, or Réunion Starling is an extinct bird from the family of Sturnidae.

The Hoopoe Starling was discovered in 1669 and first described 1783 by Dutch naturalist Pieter Boddaert. It got its name from its conspicuous ash grey crest. Because of its crest and the form of its bill it was long regarded as relative of the hoopoes by scientists, and its French name Huppe was derived from that. Boddaert named it Hupupa varia when he first described it but naturalist René-Primevère Lesson put it in its own genus Fregilupus in 1831. However, after careful analysis of the skeletons it was reclassified as a member of the starling family in 1874.

The Hoopoe Starling was discovered in 1669 and first described 1783 by Dutch naturalist Pieter Boddaert. It got its name from its conspicuous ash grey crest. Because of its crest and the form of its bill it was long regarded as relative of the hoopoes by scientists, and its French name Huppe was derived from that. Boddaert named it Hupupa varia when he first described it but naturalist René-Primevère Lesson put it in its own genus Fregilupus in 1831. However, after careful analysis of the skeletons it was reclassified as a member of the starling family in 1874.

2012-04-23



Inkayacu is an extinct genus of penguin. It lived in Peru during the Late Eocene, around 36 million years ago. A nearly complete skeleton was discovered in 2008 and includes fossilized feathers, the first known in penguins. A study of the melanosomes, pigment-containing organelles within the feathers, indicated that they were gray or reddish brown. This differs from modern penguins, which get their dark black-brown feathers from unique melanosomes that are large and ellipsoidal.

Although it was an early penguin, Inkayacu closely resembled its modern relatives. It had paddle-like wings with short feathers, and a long beak. Inkayacu, along with other extinct penguins from Peru, are often referred to as giant penguins because of their very large size. Inkayacu was about 1.5 metres (5 ft) long, in contrast to the largest living penguin, the Emperor Penguin, which is about 1.2 metres (4 ft) long.

The melanosomes within the feathers of Inkayacu are long and narrow, similar to most other birds. Their shape suggests that Inkayacu had grey and reddish-brown feathering across its body. Most modern penguins have melanosomes that are about the same length as those of Inkayacu, but are much wider. There is also a greater number of them within living penguins' cells. The shape of these melanosomes gives them a dark brown or black color, and is the reason why modern penguins are mostly black and white. Despite not having the distinctive melanosomes of modern penguins, the feathers of Inkayacu were similar in many other ways. The feathers that made up the body contour of the bird have large shafts, and the primaries along the edge of the wings are short and undifferentiated.

2010-09-28



Silphium (also known as silphion or laser) was a plant of the genus Ferula. Generally considered to be an extinct "giant fennel" (although some claim that the plant is really Ferula tingitana), it once formed the crux of trade from the ancient city of Cyrene for its use as a rich seasoning and as a medicine. It was so critical to the Cyrenian economy that most of their coins bore a picture of the plant.

Silphium was an important species in prehistory, as evidenced by the Egyptians and Knossos Minoans developing a specific glyph to represent the Silphium plant.





2010-03-04



The Gastric-brooding frogs or Platypus frogs (Rheobatrachus) were a genus of ground-dwelling frogs native to Queensland in eastern Australia. The genus consisted of only two species, both of which became extinct in the mid-1980s. The genus was unique because it contained the only two known frog species that incubated the prejuvenile stages of their offspring in the stomach of the mother.

The combined ranges of the gastric-brooding frogs comprised less than 2000 km² (800 mi²). Both species were associated with creek systems in rainforests at elevations of between 350 metres (1,100 ft) and 1,400 metres (4,600 ft). The causes of the gastric-brooding frogs' extinction are not clearly understood, but habitat loss and degradation, pollution, and the amphibian chytrid fungus may have contributed.

The assignment of the genus to a taxonomic family is hotly debated. Some biologists class them within Myobatrachidae under the subfamily Rheobatrachinae, but others place them in their own family, Rheobatrachidae.

2010-02-01



Aepyornis, which was a giant ratite native to Madagascar, has been extinct since at least the 17th century. Aepyornis was the world's largest bird, believed to have been over 3 metres (10 ft) tall and weighing close to half a ton â€" 400 kilograms (880 lb). Remains of Aepyornis adults and eggs have been found; in some cases the eggs have a circumference of over 1 metre (3 ft) and a length up to 34 centimetres (13 in). The egg volume is about 160 times greater than a chicken egg. Like the cassowary, ostrich, rhea, emu and kiwi, Aepyornis was a ratite; it could not fly, and its breast bones had no keel. Because Madagascar and Africa separated too long ago for the ratite lineage, Aepyornis had been thought to have dispersed and become flightless and gigantic in situ. A land bridge from elsewhere in Gondwana to Madagascar for the elephant bird-ostrich lineage was probably available around 85 million years ago. However, subfossil Aepyornis fragments have not yet been successfully sequenced for mitochondrial DNA.


2010-01-02



The Rodrigues Starling (Necropsar rodericanus), alternatively spelled Rodriguez Starling, is an extinct and quite enigmatic songbird species. It is the only valid species in genus Necropsar, and provisionally assigned to the starling family (Sturnidae). This bird used to inhabit Rodrigues in the Mascarenes and at least one of its offshore islets. The record of its erstwhile existence is limited to an old travel report and a few handfuls of subfossil bones.

In 1726 or shortly thereafter, the French naval officer Julien Tafforet of the La Ressource described his encounters with the bird on an offshore islet in the Relation d'île Rodrigue, which documented his 9-month stay in 1725. In 1874, Reverend Henry Horrocks Slater, a naturalist of the British Transit of Venus expedition, found subfossil bones of a starling-like songbird on Rodrigues proper, as had magistrate George Jenner shortly before. These are generally assumed to belong to the bird Tafforet wrote about. Some additional bones were found in 1974. Together, they represent most of the skeleton, except for the spine, pelvis and the small bones, and are mainly in the Cambridge Museum. The IUCN regards the Rodrigues Starling as a valid species, because Tafforet's report and the bones provide compelling evidence that it existed.

2009-12-03



Dwarf elephants were, after the Messinian salinity crisis, part of the Pleistocene fauna of all the larger Mediterranean islands, with the apparent exception of Corsica. Mediterranean dwarf elephants have generally been considered as paleoloxodontine, derived from the continental Straight-tusked Elephant, Elephas (Palaeoloxodon) antiquus Falconer & Cautley, 1847. An exception is the dwarf Sardinian Mammoth, Mammuthus lamarmorae (Major, 1883), the only endemic elephant of the Mediterranean islands belonging to the mammoth line. A DNA research published in 2006 theorized that the Elephas creticus could be from the mammoth line too. This old theory, proposed by Dorothea Bate as early as 1905, is not widely accepted. A scientific study of 2007 demonstrates the mistakes of the DNA research of 2006.

2009-11-02



The Bluebuck or Blue Antelope (Hippotragus leucophaeus), sometimes called Blaubok, is an extinct species of antelope, the first large African mammal to disappear in historic times. It is related to the Roan Antelope and Sable Antelope, but slightly smaller than either. It lived in the southwestern coastal region of South Africa savannahs, but was more widespread during the last Ice Age. It was probably a selective feeder, preferring high-quality grasses.

Europeans encountered the Bluebuck in the 17th century, but it was already uncommon by then. European settlers hunted it avidly, despite its flesh being distasteful, while converting its habitat to agriculture. The Bluebuck became extinct around 1800. There are only four mounted specimens â€" in museums in Vienna, Stockholm, Paris, and Leiden â€" along with some bones and horns elsewhere. None of the museum specimens show a blue colour, which may have derived from a mixture of black and yellow hairs.

2009-10-01



The Poʻouli or Black-faced Honeycreeper (Melamprosops phaeosoma) is a critically endangered bird that is endemic to Hawaiʻi. It is considered to be a member of the Drepanidinae (Hawaiian honeycreeper) subfamily, and is the only member of its genus Melamprosops. The vernacular name (often erroneously spelled "poʻo-uli", "poouli", "poʻoʻuli", "pouli" or "poo-uli") dates from the bird's discovery in 1973 and means 'dark head', referring to the bird's characteristic feature, a black 'bandit' mask. This is no original Hawaiian name.



2009-09-02



Tarpan (Equus ferus ferus, also known as Eurasian wild horse) is an extinct subspecies of wild horse. The last individual of this subspecies died in captivity in Ukraine in 1876.

Beginning in the 1930s, several attempts have been made to re-create the tarpan through selective breeding (see Breeding back). The breeds that resulted included the Heck horse, the Hegardt or Stroebel's horse, and a derivation of the Konik breed â€" all of which resembled the original tarpan, particularly in having the grullo coat color of the tarpan.

The name "tarpan" or "tarpani" is from a Turkic language (Kyrgyz or Kazakh) name meaning "wild horse". The Tatars and Cossacks distinguished the wild horse from the feral horse; the latter was called Takja or Muzin.

2009-08-01



The Pyrenean Ibex (Capra pyrenaica pyrenaica) is an ibex, one of the two extinct subspecies of Spanish Ibex. The subspecies once ranged across the Pyrenees in France and Spain and the surrounding area, including the Basque Country, Navarre, north Aragon and north Catalonia. A few hundred years ago they were numerous, but by 1900 their numbers had fallen to less than 100. From 1910 onwards, their numbers never rose above 40, and the species were found only in a small part of Ordesa National Park, in Huesca.

The last natural Pyrenean Ibex, a female named Celia, was found dead on January 6, 2000, apparently killed by a falling tree. Although her cause of death is known, the reason for the extinction of the subspecies as a whole is a mystery. Some hypotheses include the inability to compete with other species for food, infections and diseases, and poaching. The Pyrenean Ibex became the first species ever to become "un-extinct" when, for a period of seven minutes in January 2009, a cloned kid was born alive before dying of lung failure.

The diet of the Pyrenean Ibex consisted of grass, herbs and lichens. The ibex was paraxonic, with the plane of symmetry of each foot passing between the third and fourth digits. The third and fourth digits were quite large and bore most of the weight.


2009-07-01



The Pink-headed Duck (Rhodonessa caryophyllacea) is (or was) a large diving duck that was once found in parts of the Gangetic plains of India, Bangladesh and in the riverine swamps of Myanmar but feared extinct since the 1950s. Numerous searches have failed to provide any proof of continued existence. It has been suggested that it may exist in the inaccessible swamp regions of northern Myanmar and some sight reports from that region have led to its status being declared as "critically endangered" rather than extinct. The genus placement has been disputed and while some have suggested that it is closer to the pochards, others have placed it in a separate genus of its own.

2009-06-01



Darwinius is a genus of Adapiformes, a group of basal or stem group primates from the Eocene epoch. Its only known species is Darwinius masillae, dated to 47 million years ago (Lutetian stage) based on dating of the fossil site. The genus Darwinius was named to celebrate Charles Darwin on his bicentenary and the species name masillae honors Messel where the specimen was found. The creature appeared superficially similar to a modern lemur.

The only known fossil, dubbed Ida, was discovered in 1983 at the Messel pit, a disused shale quarry noted for its astonishing fossil preservation, near the village of Messel, about 35 km (22 mi) southeast of Frankfurt am Main. The fossil, divided into a slab and partial counterslab after the amateur excavation and sold separately, was not reassembled until 2007. The fossil is of a juvenile female, approximately 58 cm (23 in) overall length, with the head and body length excluding the tail being about 24 cm (9.4 in). It is estimated that Ida died at about 80â€"85% of her projected adult body and limb length.

The authors of the paper describing Darwinius classified it as a member of the primate family Notharctidae, subfamily Cercamoniinae, suggesting that it has the status of a significant transitional form (a "link") between the prosimian and simian ("anthropoid") primate lineages. Others have disagreed with this.

Concerns have been raised about the claims made about the fossil's relative importance, and the publicising of the fossil before adequate information was available for scrutiny by the academic community.

2009-05-02



The Himalayan Quail (Ophrysia superciliosa), is a medium-sized quail belonging to the pheasant family. It was last reported in 1876 and is feared extinct.

This species is known with certainty from only 2 locations (and 12 specimens) in the western Himalayas in Uttarakhand, north-west India. The last verifiable record was in 1876, despite a number of searches, but its continued survival cannot be ruled out as it may be difficult to detect.

The red bill and legs of this small dark quail and white spots before and after the eye make it distinctive. The male is dark grey with bleak streaks and a white forehead and supercilium. The female is brownish with dark streaks and greyish brow. Like the male it has a white spot in front of the eye and a larger one behind the eye. It is believed to fly only when flushed at close quarters and was found in coveys of five or six. The habitat was steep hillsides covered by long grass.

This quail has long tail coverts and the tail is longer than for most quails.


2009-04-02



Basilosaurus ("King Lizard") is a genus of cetacean that lived from 40 to 34 million years ago in the Eocene. Its fossilized remains were first discovered in the southern United States (Louisiana), and were initially believed to be some sort of reptilian sea monster, hence the suffix -"saurus", but later it was found that wasn't the case. Fossils from at least two other species of this taxon have been found in Egypt and Pakistan. Basilosaurus averaged about 18 meters (60 ft) in length, and is believed to have been the largest animal to have lived in its time. It displayed an unparalleled degree of elongation compared with modern whales. Their very small vestigial hind limbs have also been a matter of interest for paleontologists. The species is the state fossil of Mississippi and Alabama.

2009-03-01



Smilodon /ˈsmaɪlÉ™dÉ'n/, sometimes called sabre-toothed cat, is an extinct genus of large machairodontine saber-toothed cats that lived between approximately 2.5 million to 10,000 years ago in North and South America. They are called "saber-toothed" for the extreme length of their maxillary canines. The La Brea tar pits in California trapped hundreds of Smilodon in the tar, possibly as they tried to feed on mammoths already trapped. The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County has many of their complete skeletons. Despite the colloquial name of "saber-toothed tiger", Smilodon is not closely related to a tiger, which belongs to another subfamily, the Pantherinae; Smilodon is a member of the extinct subfamily Machairodontinae. The name Smilodon is a bahuvrihi from Greek: σμίλη, smilÄ", "chisel" and Greek ὀδoύς, ὀδόντος, odoús, Genitive: odóntos, "tooth"). Among the largest felids, the heaviest specimens of this massively built carnivore may have reached a body mass of up to 400 kg/880 pounds

2009-02-01



The Dire Wolf (Canis dirus) is an extinct carnivorous mammal of the genus Canis, and was most common in North America and South America during the Pleistocene. Although it was closely related to the Gray Wolf, it was not the direct ancestor of any species known today. Unlike the Gray Wolf, which is of Eurasian origin, the Dire Wolf evolved on the North American continent, along with the Coyote. The Dire Wolf co-existed with the Gray Wolf in North America for about 100,000 years.

The Dire Wolf was one of the abundant Pleistocene megafaunaâ€"a wide variety of very large mammals that lived during the Pleistocene. Approximately 10,000 years ago, the Dire Wolf became extinct along with most other North American megafauna.

The first specimen of a Dire Wolf was found by Francis A. Linck at the mouth of Pigeon Creek along the Ohio River near Evansville, Indiana in 1854, but the vast majority of fossils recovered have been from the La Brea Tar Pits in California.

2009-01-04



The Heath Hen (Tympanuchus cupido cupido) was a distinctive subspecies of the Greater Prairie Chicken, Tympanuchus cupido, a large North American bird in the grouse family, or possibly a distinct species.

Heath Hens lived in the scrubby heathland barrens of coastal New England, from southernmost New Hampshire to northern Virginia in historical times, but possibly south to Florida prehistorically. The prairie chickens, on the other hand, inhabited prairies from Texas north to Indiana and the Dakotas, and in earlier times in mid-southern Canada.

Heath Hens were extremely common in their habitat during Colonial times, but being a gallinaceous bird, 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 turkey. By the late 18th century, the heath hen had a reputation as poor man's food for being so cheap and plentiful; Thomas L. Winthrop related that they could be found on the Boston Common and that servants would sometimes bargain with a new employer for not being given Heath Hen for food more often than 2 or 3 days a week.

2008-12-06



The Barbary Lion, Atlas lion or Nubian lion (Panthera leo leo) is a subspecies of lion that has become extinct in the wild. There are around 40 in captivity in Europe, with fewer than a hundred in zoos around the world.

The Barbary lion formerly ranged in North Africa from Morocco to Egypt. The last known Barbary lion in the wild was shot in the Atlas Mountains in 1922. The Barbary lion was believed to be extinct in captivity as well. However, possible Barbary lion individuals or descendants have been located in zoos and circus populations within the last three decades.

The Barbary lion is often considered to be the heaviest of the lion subspecies; the calculated weight for the males is 400-600 lb (180 to 272 kg) and females 220-400 lb (100 to 180 kg), approximately the weight of Bengal Tigers. Many experts however believed that such weights are greatly exaggerated and the Barbary lion is perhaps similar in size to the sub-Saharan lion. However, there is no reliable reference about the real size of this subspecies.

The two other primary predators of northern Africa, the Atlas bear and Barbary Leopard, are now extinct, or close to extinction.

2008-11-05



The Huia, (IPA: [huiÉ']) Heteralocha acutirostris, was a species of New Zealand Wattlebird endemic to the North Island of New Zealand. It became extinct in the early 20th century, primarily as a result of overhunting and widespread habitat destruction. The last confirmed sighting was on 28 December 1907 when W.W. Smith saw three birds in the Tararua Ranges. Further credible sightings were reported as late as 1922.

The Huia was notable for a remarkable degree of sexual dimorphism in bill shape. The male and female had markedly different bills, although the sexes were otherwise similar with predominantly black plumage. The Huia held a special place in Māori culture and oral tradition; the bird was regarded as tapu (sacred), and the wearing of its skin or feathers was restricted to people of high status.

2008-10-06



The White-eyed River Martin (Pseudochelidon sirintarae, sometimes Eurochelidon sirintarae) is a passerine bird, one of two members of the river martin subfamily of the swallow family Hirundinidae. It is known only from a single wintering site in Thailand, and may be extinct since it has not been seen since 1980.

The adult White-eyed River Martin is a medium-sized swallow, with mainly glossy greenish-black plumage, a white rump, and a tail which has two elongated slender central tail feathers with long narrow racquets at the tips. It has a white eye and a broad, bright greenish-yellow bill. The sexes are similar, but the juvenile lacks the tail racquets and is generally browner than the adult. Little is known of the behaviour or breeding habitat of this species, although like other swallows it feeds on insects caught in flight, and roosts in reedbeds in winter.

As a Thai endemic, this bird was featured on a 75 satang postage stamp in 1975 as one of a set of four depicting Thai birds, and on a 1974 5,000 baht conservation issue gold coin.

2008-09-04



The Quagga is an extinct subspecies of the plains zebra, which was once found in great numbers in South Africa's Cape Province and the southern part of the Orange Free State. It was distinguished from other zebras by having the usual vivid marks on the front part of the body only. In the midsection, the stripes faded and the dark, inter-stripe spaces became wider, and the rear parts were a plain brown. The name comes from a Khoikhoi word for zebra and is onomatopoeic, being said to resemble the quagga's call. The only quagga to ever have been photographed alive was the Regent's Park Zoo mare in London.

2008-08-03



The Falkland Islands Wolf (Dusicyon australis), also known as the Warrah and occasionally as the Falkland Islands Dog, Falkland Islands Fox or Antarctic Wolf, was the only native land mammal of the Falkland Islands. This endemic canid became extinct in 1876 (on West Falkland island), the only known canid to have gone extinct in historical times. It was the only modern species in the genus Dusicyon. The most closely related genus is Lycalopex, including the Culpeo, which itself has been introduced to the Falkland Islands in modern times. It was known from both West and East Falkland, but it is unknown if the varieties were much differentiated.

The fur of the Falkland Islands Wolf had a tawny colour. The tip of the tail was white. The diet is unknown. Due to the absence of native rodents on the Falklands, its diet probably consisted of ground-nesting birds such as geese and penguins, grubs and insects, as well as seashore scavenging. It was sometimes said to have dwelt in burrows.


2008-07-07



The Ivory-billed Woodpecker (Campephilus principalis), a very large member of the woodpecker family, Picidae, is officially listed as an endangered species, but by the end of the 20th century had widely been considered extinct.

Reports of at least one male bird in Arkansas in 2004 and 2005 were suggested in April 2005 by a team led by the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology (Fitzpatrick et al., 2005). If confirmed, this would make the Ivory-billed Woodpecker a lazarus species, a species that is rediscovered alive after being considered extinct for some time.

In June 2006, a $10,000 reward was offered for information leading to the discovery of an Ivory-billed Woodpecker nest, roost or feeding site.

In late September 2006, a team of ornithologists from Auburn University and the University of Windsor published a paper detailing suggestive evidence for the existence of Ivory-billed Woodpeckers along the Choctawhatchee River in northwest Florida (Hill et al., 2006).

Despite the initial reports from both Arkansas or Florida, conclusive evidence for the existence of a population of Ivory-billed Woodpeckers, in the form of unambiguous photographs/videos, specimens, or DNA from feathers, has not been forthcoming. Nonetheless, land acquisition and restoration efforts are currently underway to protect the possible survival of this woodpecker.

2008-06-10



The Dodo (Raphus cucullatus) was a flightless bird endemic to the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius. Related to pigeons and doves, it stood about a metre (three feet) tall, weighing about 20 kilograms (44 pounds), living on fruit and nesting on the ground.

The dodo has been extinct since the mid-to-late 17th century. It is commonly used as the archetype of an extinct species because its extinction occurred during recorded human history, and was directly attributable to human activity. The adjective phrase "as dead as a dodo" means undoubtedly and unquestionably dead. The phrase "to go the way of the dodo" means to become extinct or obsolete, to fall out of common usage or practice, or to become a thing of the past.

2008-05-19



Bromus interruptus, commonly known as the interrupted brome, is a plant in the true grass family. It is endemic to southern and central England, but is believed to have been extinct in the wild since 1972. After several decades in cultivation, the interrupted brome was re-introduced to a reserve in Aston Rowant in 2004, marking the first known re-introduction of an extinct plant in Britain. The plant was a weed of waste places and arable agriculture, particularly of sainfoin (Onobrychis viciifolia) cultivation. It can be distinguished from all other Bromus species by its deeply split, or bifid, palea.


2008-04-09



The Passenger Pigeon (Ectopistes migratorius) or wild pigeon was a species of pigeon that was once the most common bird in North America. It is estimated that there were as many as five billion passenger pigeons in the United States at the time Europeans colonized North America. They lived in enormous flocks, and during migration, it was possible to see flocks of them a mile (1.6 km) wide and 300 miles (500 km) long, taking several days to pass and containing up to a billion birds. The species had not been common in the Pre-Columbian period, until the devastation of the American Indian population by European diseases. During the 19th century, the species went from being one of the most abundant birds in the world to extinction. At the time, passenger pigeons had one of the largest groups or flocks of any animal, second only to the desert locust.

Some reduction in numbers occurred as a result of loss of habitat, when the Europeans started settling further inland. However, the primary factor emerged when pigeon meat was commercialized as a cheap food for slaves and the poor in the 19th century, resulting in hunting on a massive scale. There was a slow decline in their numbers between about 1800 and 1870, followed by a catastrophic decline between 1870 and 1890.[6] In 1896, the final flock of 250,000 were killed by American sportsmen knowing that it was the last flock of that size. Afterwards passenger pigeons were rare and beyond the point of recovery. 'Martha', thought to be the world's last passenger pigeon, died on 1 September 1914 in Cincinnati, Ohio.

In the 18th century, the passenger pigeon in Europe was known to the French as "tourtre" but in New France, the North American bird was called "tourte". In modern French, the bird is known as the pigeon migrateur.

In Algonquian languages, it was called amimi by the Lenape and omiimii by the Ojibwe. The term "passenger pigeon" in English derives from the French word "passager" meaning to pass by.

2008-03-10



The Imperial Woodpecker (Campephilus imperialis) is a member of the woodpecker family Picidae. Due to its close relationship and similarity to the Ivory-billed Woodpecker, it is sometimes also called "Mexican Ivorybill" but this name is also used for the Pale-billed Woodpecker. If it is not extinct, it is the world's largest woodpecker species. The large (60 cm/23 in) and conspicuous bird has for long been known to the native inhabitants of Mexico and was called cuauhtotomomi in Nahuatl, uagam by the Tepehuán, and cumecócari by the Tarahumara.

The male had a red-sided crest, but was otherwise black, apart from the inner primaries, which were white-tipped, white secondaries, and a white scapular stripe which unlike in the Ivory-billed Woodpecker did not extend on the neck. The female was similar but the crest was all black. It was once widespread and, until the early 1950s, not uncommon throughout the Sierra Madre Occidental of Mexico, from western Sonora and Chihuahua southwards to Jalisco and Michoacan.

2008-02-13



The Crested Shelduck or Korean Crested Shelduck, Tadorna cristata, is a species of bird in the duck family. It is critically endangered and believed by some to be extinct. The male Crested Shelduck has a greenish-black crown, breast, primaries, and tail, while the rest of its face, chin, and throat are brownish black. The male's belly, undertail coverts, and flanks are a dark grey with black striations. The upper wing coverts are white, while its speculum is an iridescent green. The female has a white eye ring, black crest, white face, chin, throat, neck, and uppers wing coverts and a dark brown body with white striations. Both sexes also have a distinctive green tuft of feathers protruding from the head.

Very little is known about this bird because of the limited number of observations of this species. It apparently bred in Korea and eastern Russia and was probably a relict species that had a wider distribution in prehistoric times. Some think that this species is extinct, although occasional sightings are reported, including a number of recent reports from the interior wetlands of China. Due to the persistent reports of the species' survival, it is therefore listed as critically endangered. However, it has not been definitively sighted since 1964.

2008-01-14



Steller's Sea Cow (Hydrodamalis gigas) is an extinct, large sirenian mammal formerly found near the Asiatic coast of the Bering Sea. It was discovered in the Commander Islands in 1741 by the German naturalist Georg Steller, who was traveling with the explorer Vitus Bering. A small population lived in the arctic waters around Bering Island and nearby Copper Island. However, prior to the arrival of humans they lived all along the North Pacific coast. The sea cow grew up to 7.9 meters (25.9 ft) long[1] and weighed up to three tons,[2] much larger than the manatee or dugong. Steller's work contains two contradictory weights: 4 and 24.3 tons. The true value may lie between these figures.[3] It looked somewhat like a large seal, but had two stout forelimbs and a whale-like tail. According to Steller, "The animal never comes out on shore, but always lives in the water. Its skin is black and thick, like the bark of an old oak..., its head in proportion to the body is small..., it has no teeth, but only two flat white bonesâ€"one above, the other below". It was completely tame, according to Steller. They fed on a variety of kelp. Wherever sea cows had been feeding, heaps of stalks and roots of kelp were washed ashore.

2007-12-20



The Labrador Duck (Camptorhynchus labradorius) was a striking black and white eider-like sea duck that was never known to be common, and is believed to be the first bird to go extinct in North America after 1500. The last Labrador Duck is believed to have been seen at Elmira, New York on December 12, 1878; the last preserved specimen was shot in 1875 on Long Island. It was thought to breed in Labrador, although no nests were ever described, and it wintered from Nova Scotia to as far south as Chesapeake Bay.

It was also known as a Pied Duck, a vernacular name that it shared with the Surf Scoter and the Common Goldeneye (and even the American Oystercatcher), a fact that has led to difficulties in interpreting old records of these species, and also as Skunk Duck. Both names refer to the male's striking white/black piebald coloration. Yet another common name was Sand Shoal Duck, referring to its habit of feeding in shallow water. The closest evolutionary relatives of the Labrador Duck are apparently the scoters (Melanitta) (Livezey, 1995).

2007-11-04



The Stephens Island Wren (Xenicus lyalli) is famous for being (erroneously) considered the only known species to be entirely wiped out by a single living being. This bird was a flightless, nocturnal native of Stephens Island, New Zealand which fed on insects.

According to the common lore, the entire population was killed by the lighthouse keeper's cat named Tibbles in 1894, but this is not what actually happened (see below). The scientific name commemorates the assistant lighthouse keeper, David Lyall, who brought the bird to the attention of science. Originally, it was described as a distinct genus, Traversia, in honor of naturalist and curio dealer Henry H. Travers who procured many specimens from Lyall, but usually it is considered to be part of the Xenicus "wrens", which are not wrens at all, but a similar-looking New Zealand lineage of primitive passerines, better referred to as acanthisittids.

2007-09-12



The Carolina Parakeet (Conuropsis carolinensis) was the only parrot species native to the eastern United States. It was found from the Ohio Valley to the Gulf of Mexico, and lived in old forests along rivers. It was the only species at the time classified in the genus Conuropsis. It was called puzzi la née ("head of yellow") or pot pot chee by the Seminole and kelinky in Chikasha (Snyder & Russell, 2002).

The last wild specimen was killed in Okeechobee County in Florida in 1904, and the last captive bird died at the Cincinnati Zoo in 1918. This was the male specimen "Incas," who died within a year of his mate "Lady Jane." It was not until 1939, however, that it was determined that the Carolina parakeet had ceased to be.

2007-06-30



The Bali tiger (Panthera tigris balica), also called the Balinese tiger, is an extinct subspecies of tiger found solely on the small Indonesian island of Bali. The tiger was one of three sub-species of tiger found in Indonesia along with the Javan tiger (also extinct) and Sumatran tiger (severely endangered)

It was the smallest of the tiger sub-species; the last tiger to be shot was in 1925, and the sub-species was declared extinct on September 27, 1937. Given the small size of the island, and limited forest cover, the original population could never have been large, and it is considered unlikely that any survive today.

2007-03-24



The Baiji (Chinese: 白鱀豚; pinyin: báijìtún) (Lipotes vexillifer, Lipotes meaning "left behind", vexillifer "flag bearer") was a freshwater dolphin found only in the Yangtze River in China. Nicknamed "Goddess of the Yangtze" (長江女神) in China, the dolphin was also called Chinese River Dolphin, Yangtze River Dolphin, Beiji, Pai-chi (Wade-Giles), Whitefin Dolphin and Yangtze Dolphin. It is not to be confused with the Chinese White Dolphin (中華白海豚).

The Baiji population declined drastically in recent decades as China industrialized and made heavy use of the river for fishing, transportation, and hydroelectricity. Efforts were made to conserve the species, but a late 2006 expedition failed to find any Baiji in the river. Organizers declared the Baiji "functionally extinct", which arguably makes it the first aquatic mammal species to become extinct since the 1950s.

2007-01-29



The aurochs (Bos primigenius) is a very large, extinct type of cattle, originally prevalent in Europe. The word aurochs is both singular and plural; alternative plural forms are aurochsen or urus. The animal's original scientific name, Bos primigenius, translated the German term Auerochse or Urochs, literally "primeval ox", or "proto-ox". The original range of the aurochs was from the British Isles, to Africa, the Middle East, India and central Asia. By the 13th century A.D., the aurochs' range was restricted to Poland, Lithuania, Moldavia, Transylvania and East Prussia. The right to hunt large animals on any land was restricted to nobles and gradually to the royal household. As the population of aurochs declined, hunting ceased but the royal court still required gamekeepers to provide open fields for the aurochs to graze in. The gamekeepers were exempted from local taxes in exchange for their service and a decree made poaching an aurochs punishable by death. In 1564, the gamekeepers knew of only 38 animals, according to the royal survey. The last recorded live aurochs, a female, died in 1627 in the Jaktorów Forest, Poland. The skull was later taken by the Swedish Army and is now the property of Livrustkammaren in Stockholm.

2006-12-14



The Laysan Rail or Laysan Crake (Porzana palmeri) was a tiny inhabitant of the Northwest Hawaiian Island of Laysan. This small island was and still is an important seabird colony, and sustained a number of endemic species, including the rail. It became extinct due to habitat loss by feral rabbits, and ultimately World War II. Its scientific name honours Henry Palmer, who collected in the Hawaiian Islands for Walter Rothschild.


2006-11-13



The Thylacine (Thylacinus cynocephalus) is a large carnivorous marsupial native to Australia which is thought to have gone extinct in the 20th century.

Locally, it is known as the Tasmanian Tiger or Tasmanian Wolf, and colloquially the Tassie ("tazzy") Tiger or simply the Tiger.

Although it is only one of many Australian mammals to have become extinct following European settlement of the continent, it is the largest and by far the most famous.

Like the tigers and wolves of other continents (both placental carnivores and therefore not closely related to the marsupial Thylacine), the Thylacine was a top-level predator, and in size and general form quite closely resembled the Northern Hemisphere predators it was originally named after.

2006-10-10



The Great Auk (Pinguinus impennis) is an extinct bird. It was the only species in the genus Pinguinus, flightless giant auks from the Atlantic, to survive until recent times, but is extinct today. It was also known as garefowl (from the Old Norse geirfugl), or penguin (see etymology below).

In the past, the Great Auk was found in great numbers on islands off eastern Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Ireland and Great Britain, but it was eventually hunted to extinction. Remains found in Floridan middens suggest that at least occasionally, birds ventured that far south in winter, possibly as recently as in the 17th century (Weigel, 1958).

2006-09-30



Moa were giant flightless birds native to New Zealand. They are unique in having no wings, not even small wings, unlike other ratites. Ten species of varying sizes are known, with the largest species, the giant moa (Dinornis robustus and Dinornis novaezelandiae), reaching about 3 m (10 ft) in height and about 250 kg (550 lb) in weight. They were the dominant herbivores in the New Zealand forest ecosystem.




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