9 Animals That Humans Hunted Down Till the Point of Extinction
Since the time humans have appeared on the earth, we have become the apex predators in all food chains. Our ability to craft tools and weapons has given us an edge over all existing animals. From tigers, lions, and leopards, to rhinos, elephants, and giraffes, we have hunted down some of the most ferocious and largest animals that have or are walking the face of the earth. Initially we hunted animals for food as we were also hunters and gatherers like other animals, but soon we began developing and created civilizations and fast forward into 3000 years later we are one of the most successful species on the planets. Moving around in cars and airplanes, living in spacious homes, we have come far from living in caves.
Humans since the start of civilization began hunting as a sport. Hunting down a big predator cat was considered manly, and is still done today by many societies in the world. There are tribes in the world even today that hunt for food, but majority of the hunting in the past 200 years has been for fun and recreation.
There are many animals that the humans of the past hunted down to extinction. History All Day forages through the wildlife files to bring to you 9 animals that the humans drove into extinction.
9) The Tasmanian Tiger
Not exactly a tiger, but the stripes on the back of this animal and the extreme aggressiveness led to it being called a tiger. Found on the tiny island of Tasmania of the coast of Australia, it was one of the most feared predators on the island, until the humans arrived. Farmers in the late 1800’s were terrified of the animal as it preyed on their sheep and other livestock. Soon they began hiring bounty killers to hunt the animal down. By the mid 1900’s, the excessive hunting of the tiger led to its extinction. The last known Tasmanian tiger was shot down by a farmer called Wilf Batty. There have been reports of it being spotted in the wild even today, but no concrete proof has been found.
8) The Falkland Island Wolf
The Falkland Islands is small group of islands in the Atlantic Ocean run by the British even today. The islands were abundant in fertile soil and so extensive commercial farming was carried out since ages. But there was one predator, the wolf that was native to the islands that was a huge threat for the farmers. It would prey on the livestock and also many a time hunted humans down. So the hunt for the wolves began. Extensive hunting and mass poisoning killed the wolf in mere decades. The Falkland Island wolf went extinct in the year 1876.
7) The Great Auk
The predecessors of the modern day penguins, these birds were larger than any penguin alive today. They were heavy flightless birds and were excellent swimmers. Living in the North Atlantic Ocean, the birds only came on land to breed and lay eggs. The birds had a lot of things that humans coveted. The feathers, the pelt, skin, oil, and meat was something that was very precious to the humans and so the hunting game began. A hunter named Sigurour Isleifsson was the person responsible for the killing of the last mating pair. One of the hunters with him actually squashed the last egg with his boot. This was the end of the Great Auk in the year 1844.
6) The Barbary Lions
Lions have been coveted as prized hunting trophies since time immemorial. Even today, they are one of the most protected species on the earth found in only two regions, Africa and India. They have been under legal protection since ages. But there is one species of lion that the world lost around 6 decades ago. The Barbary lions were native to Europe. They were shorter than their African and Asian cousins and but were more agile and fast. The last wild Barbary lion was killed in the year 1942. Some are still bred in captivity but the wild Barbary lion is now extinct.
5) The Zanzibar Leopard
Native to the Zanzibar islands in Tanzania, this was one of the most unique subspecies of leopards in the world. They were smaller but more aggressive. They had dark brown spots as compared to the black spots on their distant cousins. In the 1900s, the people on the island thought that cats were pets of witches and to weaken the witches they must kill the cats. This led to the mass killings of the leopard in the region. The animal went extinct in the early 1900’s. People have reported sightings since then, but zoologists confirm that the animal is extinct.
4) The Atlas Bear
The only thing missing in the African landscape today are wild bears. But surprisingly, Africa also had its native black bear, the Atlas bear until the humans decided to kill it. It had the most beautiful underbelly of all animals, adorned with reddish brown fur. The killings began as early as the Roman Empire as these animals were used in gladiator fights. But the last sighting of the animal is reported in the 1870’s. It has been declared extinct since then.
3) The Sea Mink
One of the most mysterious animals in this list is the sea mink. The reason is the animal went extinct within decades of it being found by humans. The fur of the animal was so highly priced that humans began hunting them like wild goose. They were slaughtered in numbers and disposed off. Zoologists even back then never got enough time to study the animal. But alas! The animal is now lost to time. The last sighting was in the 1860s, since then it has been extinct.
2) The Schomburgk’s Deer
One of the most majestic species of deer in history, it roamed the plains of Thailand. Thai myths described the magical powers of the antlers of this species of deer. As time progressed this godly status of the deer became the reason of its end. They were prized for their antlers and by the 1700’s humans began hunting them down. They were hunted in numbers and the antlers removed. The last known sighting of this animal was in 1932. The last captive deer died in 1938.
1) The Elephant Bird
The elephants are also an endangered species on the planet, coveted for the precious ivory in their tusks. But in the past, there was a bird that got its name from this gigantic animal, precisely because the bird was also gigantic. They lived in isolation on the island of Madagascar for centuries before the humans arrived. They were hunted extensively for their meat and eggs, and slowly the animal was hunted to extinction.
Humanity has always been arrogant enough to consider itself the primal rulers of the earth. We have killed more species than possible just for out greedy needs. But nature balances out everything. We hope that humans learn from their mistakes and begin preserving what is left of this beautiful planet.