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10 Rare Footage And Photographs Of Extinct Animals

extinct animals

When we say extinct animals, our mind immediately travels back to dinosaurs and other such pre-historic creatures. Therefore, we usually link extinct animals with fossils and paintings. Luckily, some of the extinct animals have survived long enough to be captured on film. They may not be alive now, but looking at their photos and footage can make us remember what we have lost. Here we have brought a list of 10 such extinct animals whose photograph and footage exists.

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1. Quagga – extinction in 1883

Quagga
Image credit: Frederick York; archived in Biodiversity Heritage Library

Quagga is a subspecies of plains zebra, particularly close to Burchell’s zebra. It lived in South Africa until the 19th century but became extinct after that. It is distinguishable from other zebras by the limited pattern of primarily brown and white stripes. The stripes of Quagga were mainly on the front part of the body. The rear part was brown and without stripes, and therefore, more horse-like.

Quagga’s habitat was threatened after the Dutch settlement established in South Africa. People started hunting it in huge numbers to obtain more forage for their domesticated animals. Later, some quaggas were taken to Europe and kept in a zoo before they went extinct. The quagga in the image above is the only one ever photographed alive.(source)

2. Passenger pigeon – extinction in 1914

Passenger pigeon
Image credit: Wisconsin Historical Society 53459

The now extinct passenger pigeon once flocked abundantly all over North America. During the height of its population, they were numbering around 3 to 5 billion. These pigeons were very fast and could reach the speed of 100 km/h (62mph). Hunting along with deforestation led to the constant decline of its population. The last confirmed wild bird is thought to have been shot in 1901. Around the turn of the 20th century, only a few remained in captivity. The last passenger pigeon, Martha, died on September 1, 1914, at the Cincinnati Zoo. The photograph shown above was a cagemate of Martha.(source)

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3. Heath hen – extinction in 1932

Heath Hen was a large North American bird which became extinct in 1932. It was an extremely common bird during Colonial times and was hunted extensively for food. In fact, many have speculated that the Pilgrims’ first Thanksgiving dinner featured heath hens and not wild turkey. By the late 18th century, the heath hen earned the reputation of poor man’s food.

Due to intense hunting, the population of heath hen declined rapidly. By 1890, there were only 120-200 left in Martha’s Vineyard, off Massachusetts. By the late 19th century, there were only 70 left. In 1908, they were protected by a hunting ban, and the population grew rapidly to 2000. But due to various reason including a destructive fire and blackhead disease, the numbers started dwindling rapidly. Finally, during 1928, only one male survived. It died on March 11, 1932, thus making the species extinct.(source)

4. Thylacine – extinction in 1936

Thylacine, commonly known as the Tasmanian tiger, was the largest known carnivorous marsupial of modern times. It was a shy and nocturnal creature native to Australia, Tasmania, and New Guinea. Thylacine had the general appearance of a medium-to-large-size dog except for a stiff tail and abdominal pouch. From the top of its back dark transverse stripes radiated, like a tiger. The thylacine was an apex predator like the tigers and wolves. It could hunt prey and survive even in the extremely sparsely populated area. But intensive hunting by human led to its extinction in 1936.(source)

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5. Barbary lion – extinction in 1942 (in wild)

Barbary lion
Image credit: Sir Alfred Edward Pease; archived in Book of lion

Also known as Atlas lion or Nubian lion, the Barbary lion is a lion subspecies which is now extinct. It was formerly native to North Africa including the Atlas Mountains. The Romans used them in the Colosseum to battle with gladiators. Their numbers diminished greatly by the middle of the 19th century. The last recorded shooting of a wild Barbary lion took place in 1942 in Morocco. Small groups of Barbary lions may have survived in Algeria until the early 1960s and in Morocco until the mid-1960s. But there is no proof of this claim.(source)

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