Articles

10 Animals People Forced Into EXTINCTION!

October 8, 2019


Scientists are reporting that we are on our
way to the biggest mass extinction since the dinosaurs. From the western black rhinoceros to the tasmanian
tiger, here are 10 animals people forced into extinction. 10. Mosquitoes Obviously mosquitos aren’t extinct… yet. If there’s one species that annoys the heck out of everyone it’s the mosquito, right? They not only give us irritating bites and
buzz in your ear, but they can also transmit diseases like malaria, dengue, West Nile virus,
and much more. In fact mosquitoes are responsible for killing
almost 1 million people a year…this is no joke. And this is half the number that used to die
in the year 2000, according to the WHO. There are over 3500 species of mosquito but
only 6% of species draw blood from humans and about half of them are infected with parasites
that can hurt us. But just that small number has a HUGE impact. While they are clearly not extinct, if it
is up to us they might be on their way. So the question is, would it be wrong to kill
all the mosquitoes?? The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has
dedicated some of its funding to doing just that. Mosquitos are bred in a lab and then implanted
with a gene that makes them sterile and/or makes their offspring not develop properly. The next generation then dies before they
can reproduce and carry the disease themselves. This is part of a process called a ‘gene
drive’ which is made possible via a gene editing system called Crispr, developed in
the late ‘80s. Scientists at Oxford University and the biotech
firm Oxitec will then send out these sterile specimens to mingle with the wild population. The BBC reported that 3 million of these modified
mosquitoes were released in the Cayman Islands in 2009 and 2010. Oxitec reported a 96% reduction in mosquitoes. So is this a good idea? What do you think? Entomologists and biologists everywhere are
kind of freaking out because we don’t know all of the side effects that could occur if
mosquitoes are eradicated. They are important pollinators and could have
a huge effect on birds, bats, fish, frogs and their demise could cause irreparable damage
to the food chain. We have no idea! 9. Passenger Pigeon The passenger pigeon has been extinct since
1914 but the passenger pigeon made a big impact on history. They used to be found in the billions in North
America and were noted for their red chests and tails which were shaped like wedges. Everything was going great until one thing
happened… the invention of the telegraph in the mid 1800s. Since we didn’t need them to send messages
anymore, word spread like wildfire and people hunted them to extinction in a matter of decades. The passenger pigeon became the icon of extinction
and the wholesale slaughter of these birds represented the dark side of humans as powerful
predators. Things got so bad the American government
passed something called the Lacey Act in 1900. This was designed to safeguard wildlife against
hunters. Unfortunately by that point the poor passenger
pigeon had been blasted to smithereens and only one remained at the Cincinnati Zoo. Her name was Martha and sadly she passed away
in 1914. However, now a team of scientists are launching
the Great Passenger Pigeon Comeback trying to bring the species back from extinction
through genetic engineering and cloning. Do you really want more pigeons? And now for number 8, but first: what do you
think about bringing animals back from extinction? Let us know in the comments below!! And if you are new here, be sure to subscribe
before you leave!! 8. Western Black Rhinoceros This subspecies of the black rhino was officially
declared extinct in 2011. The Western black rhinoceros used to be a
stunning feature of African wildlife. Sadly like many of its kind it was killed
by poachers for its horn, which some believed had medicinal properties. But others just like having the horn on display
for status purposes. You know, something to talk about with your
friends. The last confirmed sighting of a Western black
rhino was back in 2003. In fact the animal was thought to be dead
as a dodo in 2006 but organizations always wait a few years after just in case they’re
mistaken. Unfortunately in the case of the Western black
rhino they were proved correct. At the time the media didn’t take much of
an interest. They were so out of touch they reported the
rhino’s extinction 2 years after it was mentioned! The big problem is that many of the organizations
that are there to help critically endangered species just do not have enough funding for
all of them to keep them alive and get the word out that these creatures are almost gone. We have to pay more attention!! 7. The Dodo Bird Everyone’s heard of the dodo right? It even made an appearance in ‘Alice In
Wonderland’…? Well in case you haven’t, it was a goofy-looking
thing, it couldn’t fly and was apparently extremely delicious. It became extinct when sailors landed on the
island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean in the late 16th century. The hungry Dutchmen kept on eating the dodo
until there was nothing left! That’s the popular version of history anyway…
the reality is very different! Recent studies have suggested humans have
been pretty unfair to the dodo, which has been dead for approx. 350 years. Archaeologists found waste pits with bones
leftover from meals that definitely aren’t dodo bones. And the dense rainforest environment would’ve
made it easy for dodos to hide from hunters anyway so they weren’t on the menu much,
as far as I can see. So were they hunted to extinction? Unlikely. And whatever you do, don’t call them fat
birds! It’s just rude and the fact is they were
pretty lean, but the dead specimens would often be overstuffed. More recent official studies of the bird believe
that instead of being clubbed to death by sailors, they were probably made extinct by
rats and other critters the sailors accidentally brought over with them. And nobody really cared at the time. The last confirmed sightings were from the
1660’s. Stuffed examples of dodos were put in museums,
but this was before 1796 when the scientific community became aware that extinction was
a REAL thing. Because no one figured that animals could
actually disappear, a lot of the specimens were thrown out. So a lot of it had to do with our own carelessness. 6. Pyrenean Ibex In this case, we have a d-extinction? Thanks to science, extinction can be reversed
and an interesting example of this was the Pyrenean Ibex, a wild goat that also has the
Spanish title ‘bucardo’. These hardy little guys used to roam the Iberian
Peninsula. Their distinctive horns were thick and curved
on the males and shorter and thin on the females. They were very hardy and could adapt quickly
to changing climates. That was until poachers got their hands on
them of course! That and other factors led to the Pyrenean
Ibex dying out. The last of its kind was named Celia who died
in 2000. But scientists managed to get skin cells from
Celia and grew a clone from her in 2009. So now she has become part of a ground-breaking
de-extinction experiment! I’m sorry to say the clone only lasted 7
mins before perishing from lung defects. But scientists are willing to try again. 5. La Pinta Island tortoise La Pinta Island is part of the legendary Galapagos
Islands in Ecuador. These islands were immortalized by Charles
Darwin when he used the wildlife there as inspiration for the theory of evolution we
still rely on today. Also known as ‘Abingdon Island’, La Pinta
played host to a giant species of tortoise. They were tough creatures that had the ability
to survive regardless of whether there was food or water available! When humans came to the Galapagos however
it spelled the end for the La Pinta tortoise. Whereas Darwin saw them as beautiful examples
of nature, to whalers and other explorers they were more like slow-moving steaks! The population were all eaten up but there’s
a happy ending of sorts to the story. For starters just when we thought this mighty
species had died out, the last living La Pinta tortoise was found in 1971. Dubbed “Lonesome George”, he lived until
2012 before he passed away. That looked like the end for the La Pintas. But in 2010 an experiment was conducted where
39 other tortoises were introduced to the island to see how they got on. And while that was going on more tortoises
were discovered on nearby Isabela Island. These tortoises shared DNA with their La Pinta
ancestors. So the species may have found a way to survive…
about time we had some good news in this video, right? 4. Quagga Until the late 1800s quaggas were a common
sight in South Africa. A quagga was essentially a zebra only with
a brown bottom half. It was a subspecies of the plains zebra and
fell prey to hunters, who killed so many they wiped them off the map. For over a hundred years Mankind never saw
a live quagga but then The Quagga Project started. The late German natural historian Reinhold
Rau helped found this project, which wanted to bring quaggas back from extinction. But how? The answer lay in the genes of other zebras. Experts believed zebras carried the quagga’s
characteristic gene and that it would only be a matter of breeding zebras selectively
to bring it out. They worked at this over 4 generations of
zebras and sure enough recreated the look of the quagga! They even named them “Rau quaggas” in
Reinhold’s honour. So that means quaggas are no longer extinct,
right…? Actually that’s pretty debatable. Critics of the project think all they did
was recolour a zebra, not revive the quagga species. Well you know, can’t make everyone happy… 3. Tasmanian Tiger This Tasmanian Tiger isn’t exactly a tiger,
it just got called that because of its stripes. The correct name was ‘thylacine’ and it
was actually a large marsupial like a kangaroo. It also lived on the Australian mainland as
well as Tasmania. Originally it was thought they became extinct
on the mainland due to attacks by dingoes,and Aboriginal hunters. However, it turns out that the Tasmanian Tigers
fared much better, making it to 1936 before they too disappeared. They were fine until settlers rocked up on
the island and began blasting them to kingdom come. There were even bounties to make sure they
were eradicated from the island. Well apparently they did a good job. What did the tigers ever do to them, huh…? 2. Steller’s Sea Cow If any species had it rough it was the Steller’s
sea cow. This also includes manatees. Named after George W. Steller, the naturalist
who discovered them in 1741, they were part of the ecosystem on the Komander Islands in
the Bering Sea. They grew to around 9 or 10 m (around 30 ft)
and weren’t known for being dainty! A Steller’s sea cow could weigh approx. 9979 kg (22,000 lbs) and had small flippers
that were used for gaining traction on things like rocks. What did a sea cow like to eat? Well they didn’t have any teeth so seaweed
was typically the order of the day. Because they couldn’t submerge themselves
they became a target for seal hunters looking for an easy substitute. Shockingly this meant the whole population
was made extinct by 1768. That’s less than 3 decades… crazy, right? 1. Great Auk The big name when it comes to extinct species
is probably the Great Auk. It’s been referred to as the “original
penguin” and you can see why. It’s black and white, short and it can’t
fly. Look at that huge beak too. This little bird wouldn’t look out of place
in ‘Happy Feet’. Things certainly weren’t happy for the Great
Auk once sailors got ‘em in their sights. They used to be pretty plentiful over the
centuries but once humankind began taking to the seas they were targeted for various
reasons. Not only did they taste good but their feathers
were in high demand and they were a great source of fat and oil. As they were driven to extinction all kinds
of horror stories came out. Sailors believed that they were witches and
would throw stones at them. The last remaining Auks were hunted down in
Iceland and if that wasn’t awful enough there was an egg that one of the hunters trod
on by accident. That was it for one of the most interesting
species on Earth. Pretty terrible note to end on, huh…? Thanks for watching! Are there any extinct species you would like
to mention? Let us know in the comments. Thanks for watching and see you soon!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *