Extinct animals report
The IUCN red list is the most comprehensive list of species population information, and is
affiliated with many environmental institutions such as the Species Survival Commission and the
Zoological Society of London. Their official goals are to:
1. To provide scientifically based information on the status of species and subspecies at a
2. To draw attention to the magnitude and importance of threatened biodiversity
3. To influence national and international policy and decision-making
4. To provide information to guide actions to conserve biological diversity.
The Great Auk (pinguinus impennis) is a species the Alcid family. It went extinct on the 3rd of July
1844, when two merchants strangled the adult auks and smashed the egg with their boots.
It’s habitat distribution was along the cold coasts of Canada, the northeastern United States,
Norway, Greenland, Iceland, the Faroe Islands, Ireland, Great Britain, France, and northern Spain.
They required very specific grounds to breed: rocky coasts with easy access to the shore. This
may have been a limiting factor in their reproduction, making them more vulnerable to
The Great Auk was led to extinction by humans. Scientists suggest the “little ice age” may have
had an impact, but the flightless birds were hunted on a wide scale for their down (soft feathers,
they were used to make cushions). Records from explorer Jacques Cartier reveal that they were
also used for convenient food source, as well as fishing bait. Paintings and bone remains also
point to their consumption by pre-historic men.
In 1553, the animal first received lawful protection. Later on in 1775, Great britain banned the
Auk’s use for feathers or eggs. Offenders were publicly flogged. Regardless, the species ended up
Golden Bamboo Lemur
On the IUCN red list, one critically endangered species is the Golden bamboo lemur (Hapalemur
aureus). It’s habitat is unique to south-eastern Madagascar. They are herbivorous, and exclusively
feed on grasses and bamboo. It is “crepuscular”, meaning it only comes out at night or at dusk.
Their population is declining. Only 1000 Golden Bamboo lemurs remain in the wild today.
“Slash-and-burn” agriculture is causing habitat loss, as well as harvesting of bamboo by humans,
for building materials or basket-making. The Ranomafana National Park was opened in 1991 to
protect this endangered lemur.
Socially and economically, many inhabitants of Madagascar rely on bamboo for water transport
and to build their homes. Protecting the lemur’s habitat would mean underprivileged Malagasy
would have to find different housing solutions, as well as more expensive means of water
Chinese Crested Tern
Thalasseus bernsteini is a seabird whose status is rated as critically endangered by the IUCN. Until
this year, there were only two known breeding colonies of the Crested Tern: Mazu Islands off the
coast of Fujian and Wuzhishan Islands off Zhejiang in China. However, this summer a tern colony
restoration project has led to the establishment of one more habitat for the bird. This comes as a
welcome change in the otherwise devastated Chinese landscape comprising polluted rivers,
deforested mountains and increasing urbanization in the quest for quick GDP growth.
A small island called Tiedun Dao in Jiushan Islands was chosen for colony restoration. The
restoration team consisting of local authorities and experts used decoys and playback tern calls
to initially attract the birds. Much earlier than expected, a substantial new colony of over 2,600
Great Crested Terns and 19 Chinese Crested Terns soon took shape on the island, including 600
fledglings of the former and at least one fledgling of the latter. International experts, including
those from BirdLife International, observed that this was the highest single count of Chinese
Crested Terns since the species’ rediscovery in 2000.
All these examples go to show that though human activity, we can nefariously contribute to
driving many species to extinction. But we also have the power the restore and repair, a
necessary route to preserve diverse and functioning ecosystems.
“Scientific Human Intervention Helps Bird Species – Times of India.” The Times of India. N.p., n.d.
“Search All Names – Results for “Arinia Simplex”.” Catalogue of Life – 30th January 2017 : Search
All Names. N.p., n.d. Web.
“Great Auk.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web.
“About.” IUCN. N.p., n.d. Web. <https://www.iucn.org/about>.