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Extinct Animals
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Thylacine Thylacinus cynocephalus

Tasmanian Wolf or Thylacine, Thylacinus cynocephalus

The Tasmanian Wolf is not a wolf, but a carnivorous marsupial and a relative of wombats and kangaroos.  It even has a pouch.   Tasmanian officials promoting ranching paid bounties to hunters.  Believed to be extinct for well over half a century, unconfirmed reported sightings persist.



English Wolf

English Wolf

The wolf became extinct in England in 1486, Scotland in 1743, and Ireland in 1770.





Quagga, Equus burchelli quagga, of the Karoo Plains and southern Free State of South Africa were a subspecies of the Burchell's Zebra, although their unique appearance wouldn't necessarily make this apparent.  Some thought incorrectly that the Quagga was the female of Burchell's Zebra, probably because the natives gave both zebras the same name. 

In the wild, Quaggas, Ostriches and Wildebeests often grazed together in what was termed the "triple alliance".  The Quagga's hearing, the Ostrich's eyesight and the Wildibeast's keen sense of smell comprised excellent defense from predators for the entire herd.  However, its limited range made it all the more vulnerable and Quaggas were hunted to the brink of extinction in the mid 19th Century by settlers razing sheep, goats and other livestock. The last Quagga died in in 1883 in an Amsterdam Zoo.




Turanian Tiger, Caspian Tiger, Wilhelm Kuhnert, Scientific American, 1897

Turanian Tiger, Caspian Tiger

Caspian Tigers lived in China, Tajikistan, Iran, Afghanistan and Turkey.  They were hunted for their furs and to protect livestock.  A ban on hunting the Caspian Tiger in the USSR in 1947 followed their greatest destruction in the 1930s.  The last Caspian Tiger reported shot was in 1957.



Steller's Sea Cow

Steller's Sea Cow

Steller's Sea Cow was discovered in the Aleutian Islands by George Steller while exploring with Vitus Bering in 1741. They grew as large as 35 feet long and weighed up to three-and-a-half tons.    Sailors ate their meat and used their leather.  They were easily killed and vanished from their only home within 30 years after Steller's discovery.




Steller's Sea Cow

Steller's Sea Cow Drawn by George Steller
















Carolina Parakeet, Gustav Mutzel, Brehm's Tierleben, 1911

Carolina Parakeet, Gustav Mutzel

Once abundant, this extinct species nested in large colonies in the cypress swamps in the South Atlantic and Gulf States.  They migrated up the Mississippi, and Missouri Rivers to the Platte and regularly to Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin and Nebraska, and in the east to Pennsylvania.   Hunted for their feathers and slaughtered as pests, the last reported sighting in the wild was a small flock in Florida in 1920.





Pallus Cormorant

Spectacled Cormorant, Pallas' Cormorant

Also discovered in the Aleutian Islands by George Steller while exploring with Vitus Bering in 1741.  The Spectacled Cormorant was extinct within about a century.





Dodo, Roland Savery

In 1505, Portuguese explorers discovered the island of Mauritius and the 50 lb flightless Dodos which supplemented their food stores.  Imported pigs, monkeys and rats fed on the Dodo's eggs in their ground nests.  The last Dodo was killed in 1681.






Great Auk, Nests and Eggs of North American Birds, Oliver Davie, 1898, originally in Brehm's Tierleben, 1911 - 1918, Alfred Edmund Brehm

Great Auk, Alfred Edmund Brehm

Look familiar?   Before similar looking birds were discovered in the southern hemisphere, the Great Auk or Garefowl was also known as a Penguin.  The Great Auk inhabited the coasts and islands of the North Atlantic from Virginia and Ireland to Greenland and Iceland almost to the Arctic Circle.  The flightless bird was easily captured.  They and their eggs fed many sailors.  Shorebirds that breed in a limited number of colonies at only certain locations are highly susceptible to concentrated stresses and the Great Auk was extinct by mid Nineteenth Century.


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