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Our extinction crisis continues; 2013 allowed us to safely conclude that we will never again see the animals listed below (2012 version here).
|One of the last known photos of|
a Formosan Clouded Leopard;
taken by Torii Ryūzō.
The Cape Verde Giant Skink (Chioninia coctei), which hasn't been seen since 1912, has been declared extinct, although a jawbone from one of these lizards was found in some cat scat in 2005. However, since then the cat (i.e., house cat) population has increased substantially and, aided by rats and dogs, has likely wiped out the skink.
The Sri Lanka Spiny Eel (Macrognathus pentophthalmos) is probably extinct. As recently as 1980 the species was considered common but it was likely done in by a non-native species of fish that ate many of them.
The Eskimo Curlew (Numenius borealis) was once so abundant that the sizes of its flocks were compared to those of Passenger Pigeons. They now have something else in common. The last known Eskimo Curlew was observed in 1963; Canada is likely to decide it is officially extinct because it has been 50 years since one has been seen. Eskimo Curlews probably suffered from a decline in their locust prey as well as loss of habitat but the primary cause of extinction is thought to be overhunting. Indeed, the last known Eskimo Curlew was shot by a hunter in Barbados.
|The Southern Darwin's Frog |
(i.e., not the extinct one);
by Mono Andes, Wikimedia.
The Santa Cruz Pupfish (Cyprinodon arcuatus) of Arizona has been declared extinct. This small fish was probably once found in a few small wetlands that disappeared due to water management practices that dried them up. The last (and only?) spring known to harbor the species was altered into a pond and canal many years ago. The altered habitats were then invaded by predatory bass, which did their part by eating a bunch of pupfish.
A freshwater shrimp (Macrobrachium leptodactylus) from Indonesia found once in 1888 and never since has been declared extinct. The area where the shrimp was discovered has been heavily developed.
|This is a madtom, but not a Scioto Madtom;|
image by Ellen Edmonson and Hugh Chrisp.
The Western Black Rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis longipes) was declared extinct in 2011 but for some reason it received a lot of press in late 2013. Here is a comprehensive breakdown of how we lost this magnificent beast.
It is just unfathomable, if not unconscionable, that we are responsible for causing a single species to completely disappear from the planet forever. Yet, we continue to do so over and over again. Extinct species have no future, they are gone to us and everyone that comes after us.
Let's hope that our 2014 list is shorter than this year's. Did I leave something out? Let me know below. To learn about species on the brink of extinction, do not miss John Platt's excellent blog: Extinction Countdown.
Check Out The Following Scientific Article For More on Darwin's Frogs:
Soto-Azat C, Valenzuela-Sánchez A, Collen B, Rowcliffe JM, Veloso A, & Cunningham AA (2013). The population decline and extinction of Darwin's frogs. PloS one, 8 (6) PMID: 23776705