There are many species on our earth, and each one has a special contribution to make to the ecosystems’ natural processes. Although some creatures seem far away from us, making it simple to overlook their significance in our environment, there is no doubting the important functions that wildlife plays overall. Humans, plants, and animals are necessary components of the intricate web of life. Additionally, life on Earth is impacted when this system is disrupted as a result of extinction.
Many of us naturally think about how climate change and global warming affect human lives. However, we must consider how animals are impacted by the changing climatic system. Additionally, we must take into account how human activities like overfishing, pollution, deforestation, and overhunting affect animal populations. Not all species have been successful in navigating changes like habitat loss, despite the fact that many of them are discovering ways to adapt.
Animals are a crucial component of our ecology, playing a role in everything from preserving the food chain to assisting in the battle against climate change. We interfere with nature’s process when we endanger specific animals and disrupt the equilibrium in our ecosystem. Even though extinction is a natural occurrence, human impact has sped up the pace. According to a report from 2019, human activity is threatening to wipe out roughly 1 million plant and animal species. We have created a list of recently extinct animals below if you’re interested in learning more about some of the species that have already experienced this fate.
5 Recently Extinct Animals You Should Know About
- Ivory-Billed Woodpecker (Declared Extinct: 2021)
The biggest woodpecker in North America was the ivory-billed kind. With a wingspan of 30 to 31 inches, they were roughly 18 to 20 inches long. Their long pale bills allowed them to access their main food source—beetle larvae—by removing the bark from trees. Their necks have two white stripes along the length of their dark bodies. Regarding its extinction, this bird species has generated a great deal of dispute. Despite being declared extinct roughly 50 years ago, a video from 2005 showed observations of this bird in a swamp forest in Arkansas. Nevertheless, several said that the woodpecker on the tape resembled the pileated woodpecker, a species that is indigenous to North America. The American government moved to officially declare this species extinct in 2021. However, recent study that hasn’t been peer-reviewed suggests that the ivory-billed woodpecker may still exist in the United States.
- Lake Lanao Freshwater Fish (Declared Extinct: 2020)
About 17 different freshwater fish species lived in Lake Lanao, one of the few old lakes in the world. According to study, it is the second-largest lake in the Philippines and is almost 10 million years old. 15 of the species it occupies have been classified as extinct. We may probably connect the extinction of these species to the introduction of invasive species into the lake for economic interests based on the IUCN’s investigations. The extinction was also caused by other factors like overfishing and harmful fishing techniques.
- Smooth Handfish (Declared Extinct: 2020)
The smooth handfish had a really peculiar appearance. The smooth handfish was anything but a typical fish, what with its protruding eyes and mohawk-like fins. In reality, thanks to its fins that resemble hands, it is best recognised for its capacity to “walk” on the ocean floor. The smooth handfish, which measured 5.9 inches in length, was found in Tasmanian coastal waters. As homebodies by nature, handfish found it difficult to move and adapt when their surroundings were altered. They were thereby exposed to dangers. The first marine species to go extinct in the modern era was the smooth handfish.
Prior to its extinction, there were only 14 species of handfish in existence, and that number has since fallen to 13. IUCN formally declared it extinct in 2020. The primary factor in the extinction of these animals was habitat degradation. These creatures were exterminated by human activities like fishing and pollution as well as the effects of climate change.
- Bramble Cay Melomys (Declared Extinct: 2019)
The Bramble Cay melomys is named after the Bramble Cay, a tiny coral cay in Australia’s northeast that is covered in vegetation. These mice had short ears, big feet, and long tails. They were about 6 inches long, weighed less than a quarter of a pound, and had fur that was reddish-brown on top and gray-brown on the bottom. They also lived in an area that was only ten feet above sea level. The creatures perceived a threat when the temperature rose and the sea level rose.
As the first mammal to become extinct as a result of climate change, the Bramble Cay melomys made history. Their extinction was caused by human-driven activities that raised sea levels and warmed ocean temperatures. Additionally, the island was flooded as a result of strong storms, high tides, and increasing sea levels, which drowned and washed away the vegetation that the animals relied on for food and shelter. This species went from being endangered to extinct due to a lack of resources for survival and the destruction of its habitat, as stated by the Australian government in 2019.
- Spix’s Macaw (Declared Extinct (In the Wild): 2019)
You already know what this bird looks like if you’ve seen the animated film Rio. Blu, the film’s primary character, is a Spix’s macaw. This bird, sometimes known as the small blue macaw, stands out in the wild due to its vivid blue colour. The Spix’s macaw was discovered in Brazil, but the IUCN reports that species is now extinct in the wild. There are a little over 100 Spix’s macaws kept in captivity, which means they are no longer found in their natural habitat. Deforestation and the illegal pet trade are the main causes of their extinction in the wild. The goal of captive breeding operations is to boost this species’ population and restore it to its original habitat.