8 Animals that were Hunted to Extinction (With Photos)

8 Animals that were Hunted to Extinction (With Photos)

Over the course of many years, numerous species that once inhabited this world have gone extinct. Dinosaurs, wiped out due to natural causes, are a prime example of a mass extinction. However, not all extinctions are natural. Sad as it may sound, humans have played a major role in causing extinction around the world. Below are 8 animals that were wiped from the face of the Earth due to human actions.

Passenger Pigeon

Passenger Pigeon

Once a common species in North America, Passenger Pigeons numbered up to almost five million. These birds were present from all the way from the Great Plains to the Atlantic Coast. Unfortunately, these agile birds were quickly wiped out by the arrival of Europeans who hunted them on a large scale for cheap meat. The last wild Passenger Pigeon was seen in 1901 and the last of its species, Martha, died in 1914 the Cincinnati Zoo. Sometimes, it is argued that the extinction of these birds was actually beneficial as the population of Passenger Pigeon was unsustainable and destructive to the environment.


This famous flightless bird was discovered by the Dutch in 1519. These birds were unique to Mauritius, an island east of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean. Despite being found in quite an abundance, there’s not much known about this species. The skeletons of these birds are quite rare and are usually partially found. For example, a Dodo’s head and foot are displayed in Oxford. Another Dodo’s beak is located in Prague and so on. The only complete stuffed Dodo was in the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. However, the body was allowed to rot and was burned later on in a bonfire.

Tasmanian Tigers.

Tasmanian Tiger

Thylacine, more commonly referred to as the Tasmanian Tiger was a species of tigers native to Australia, Tasmania, and New Guinea. This marsupial was called a tiger because of the stripes on its back. In some areas, it was called the Tasmanian Wolf due to its striking resemblance with wolves. These animals were rather shy and nocturnal. They used to hunt livestock and so were often killed during the process. Often, bounties were put on these tigers which further decreased the population. The species went extinct in 1936, but the unconfirmed sightings of Tasmanian Tigers are reported every now and then.


This South African Zebra went extinct in the late 19th century when the Dutch settled in South Africa. Quaggas were often hunted as forage animals. As the population thinned out, some of these zebras were taken to zoos in Europe. Unfortunately, all the breeding programs failed. The last known Quagga died in 1883. Only one Quagga has ever been captured on camera even though about 20 skins have been preserved to this day.

Pinata Island Tortoise

Also known as the Pinata Giant Tortoise, this subspecies of the Galápagos tortoise was native to Pinta Island in Ecuador. As with most animals, the Pinata Island Tortoise was driven to extinction due to hunting. The species was declared extinct in 2012 when the last surviving male, Lonesome George died in captivity. Efforts were made to breed the tortoise with other species, but it was all futile. A recent trip to Isabella Island showed these tortoises may still be alive as some juvenile members of the species were found. Having said that, the Pinata tortoise has been declared extinct by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Wooly Mammoth

Perhaps the first animal that comes to mind when one sees the word ‘extinction’, the Wooly Mammoth was an enormous mammal that had features similar to that of a modern-day elephant. These massive 4-meter-tall elephants went extinct around 10,000 years ago, partially hunted to death and the rest wiped out by drastic climate changes. The last known Mammoth population is thought to be on Wrangel Island in the Arctic Ocean.

Skull of the Saber-tooth Cat. Credit: iflscience

Sabre/Saber-Tooth Cat

These ferocious hunters roamed the plains around the world till their extinction. Believed to have been excellent predators, this species of mammals had long, curved teeth. These ‘cats’ were able to open their jaw as wide as 120 degrees, almost twice that of a modern-day lion! Saber-Tooth cats hunted other mammals such as Mammoths. It is widely believed that climate change was a major reason that caused the extinction of the species. Other explanations suggest their prey went extinct rapidly, thus resulting in a complete wipeout of these cats. However, these cats faced competition in the form of humans and were often hunted as well.

West African Black Rhinoceros

The West African Black Rhinoceros, also known as the ‘hook-lipped’ rhinoceros was a subspecies of the Black Rhinoceros. These rhinos were mostly hunted for their ivory horns. The last of the species were found in Cameroon, and ever since then, these rhinos have been declared extinct by the IUCN in 2011. The entire Black Rhinoceros species has been declared endangered as its subspecies are going extinct rapidly.

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