This article explores ten extinct animals that people wish still existed today. Among them are the dodo, famous for its ease of capture and extinction caused by human activity; the woolly mammoth, an iconic animal of the last ice age that many hope to clone back into existence; and the saber-toothed cat with its fearsome teeth that once prowled the ice age landscape. Also on the list are the Tasmanian tiger, the most recent of Australia’s lost megafauna, and the Great Auk, hunted to extinction for its eggs, meat, and feathers, among others. Though unlikely, humans can at least appreciate these creatures through their stories.
10 Extinct Animals We Wish Still Existed
It’s always a bit nostalgic to think about animals that were once on this planet but aren’t around anymore. Some may have gone extinct due to natural causes, while others were driven to extinction by human activity. There are many animals that we wish still existed today – here are ten of them:
The dodo is one of the most famous extinct animals, and for a good reason. This flightless bird was endemic to Mauritius and is believed to have gone extinct in the late 17th century, less than a century after it was first discovered. Sadly, the bird’s easy-to-catch nature, coupled with human activity, led to its extinction.
2. Woolly Mammoth
The woolly mammoth is perhaps the most iconic extinct animal of the last ice age. These massive creatures lived in the Arctic region and are thought to have gone extinct around 4,000 years ago. Many people dream of the day when someone will clone these mammoths back into existence.
3. Saber-toothed Cat
The saber-toothed cat is another animal from the ice age that people want to resurrect. Its iconic teeth, which could reach up to 7 inches in length, made it a fearsome predator. These cats probably went extinct around 10,000 years ago, likely due to climatic changes.
4. Tasmanian Tiger
The Tasmanian tiger, or thylacine, was once found on the Australian mainland and Tasmania. It was hunted to extinction in the early 20th century, with the last known individual dying in captivity in 1936. The Tasmanian tiger is an important part of Australia’s cultural heritage, and many people would love to see it returned to the wild.
5. Passenger Pigeon
The passenger pigeon was once the most abundant bird in North America, with flocks that could reach over a billion individuals. Despite this, the bird’s populations were destroyed by hunting and habitat destruction, and the last known individual died in captivity in 1914.
6. Irish Elk
The Irish elk is a species of deer that went extinct around 10,000 years ago. Despite its name, the animal wasn’t restricted to Ireland and was once distributed throughout much of Europe and Asia. Its large, antlers which could reach over 12 feet in length undoubtedly earned the animal a place in people’s hearts.
7. Great Auk
The Great Auk is a species of flightless bird that went extinct in the 19th century. It was once found in the North Atlantic but was hunted to extinction by humans for its eggs, meat, and feathers. It’s said that the last known pair of Great Auk was killed in 1844.
The quagga was a subspecies of zebra that was once found in South Africa. The animal went extinct in the late 19th century due to hunting, habitat destruction, and competition for food with domestic livestock. The last known individual died in captivity in 1883.
9. Ivory-Billed Woodpecker
The ivory-billed woodpecker is believed to have gone extinct in the mid-20th century. It was once found in the southeastern United States and was known for its distinctive ivory bill. Despite recent reports of sightings, most scientists now consider the bird as extinct.
10. Haast’s Eagle
Haast’s eagle was the largest eagle ever known to exist. It was endemic to New Zealand and is believed to have gone extinct around 500 years ago due to human activity. The bird’s massive talons and powerful beak must have made it an awe-inspiring sight to behold.
The loss of any animal is a tragic event, but there are some creatures that we’re always going to miss. Each of the animals on this list has a unique quality that captured our imagination and stirred our hearts. While it’s always unlikely that we’ll see them again, we can at least appreciate them through the stories that have survived over the years.