Around 5000 species go extinct every year, according to the WWF. Experts estimate that this is thousands of times higher than what would be lost without humans. Put another way, this means that humanity is responsible for nearly all the extinctions currently occurring. Extinct Animals Hub attempts to document these species and the reasons for their extinction.
The technical definition of an extinct species is one where there are no more living members.
But that leaves us with a few questions:
Luckily, a classification system exists for this purpose: The IUCN Red List Status. For our purposes, we only care about 3 of these classifications:
We can assume that any animal officially classified as extinct by the IUCN has been properly and extensively evaluated. All species with this status can be documented in Extinct Animals Hub.
Extinct in the wild
Extinct in the wild means that living animals still exist in captivity. These animals will generally not be documented. An exception is in the case that they are unable to breed in captivity. In this case, we can document them, and then mark them as extinct later.
Critically endangered species are often only a few years from extinction. However, due to increased conservation efforts, many animals have been brought back from the brink of extinction. (See The saiga antelope). For this reason critically endangered species are marked in a separate category. The exception to this is critically endangered animals that have already been made extinct in an entire region.
Extinct animals hub documents each animal in detail including:
You may be looking for a particular category of extinct animal. For this reason we provide lists grouped by category. These include:
In recent years, the rate of extinction has increased dramatically. Even more worryingly, it appears to be happening at a faster and faster rate. This is due to a variety of factors:
Following the first industrial revolution in the 1800s, the world population has grown enormously. This is reflected in the huge increase in animal species become extinct during this time. A large proportion of these extinctions can be pinpointed to 2 factors: hunting and habitat loss.
Not only have the number of people increased, but each person is consuming more on average than we ever have.
We require more energy, more space and more consumer items than ever.
One upshot of this is Climate change, which rapidly shifts an area from one habitat to another. One species, the Bramble Cay melomys, is officially the first mammal to go extinct from climate change.
Another is the increased use of land through farming, mining, or urban expansion. This cuts down the available habitat space, and is currently one of the main causes of animal extinction.
Every animal species relies on a complex balance of other species of plants and animals. There's a clear reliance of predator on prey, but this can also happen in complex unexpected ways. For example, the extinction of a herbivore might mean that its food, a plant species, is able to flourish. This plant could outcompete a tree species, which previously provided a home for a bird species.
This complex reliance of difference species creates a chain reaction of extinctions. In some ways, this is the most difficult to counteract, as the more animals go extinct, the more will go extinct.
Humanity has experienced an unprecedented rate of growth in the past 100 years. The world population has multiplied by 4....
As humanity progresses, the rate that animals go extinct gets faster and faster. The effects of climate change, habitat destruction...
India is a country with a rich, varied ecology. The subcontinent is home to deserts, tropical forests, grasslands and mountains....
Like mammals, the rate of bird extinction has been increasing with the continued expansion of of humanity, following the industrial...
Mammals as a class of animals are among the most at risk of extinction. There are currently around 5400 species...