Ten animals about to go extinct

May 4, 2014 • 11:13 am

It’s our fault, of course: habitat destruction and hunting. But for unknown reasons they left out Atelopus coynei, which, I’m now informed, may also be extinct—after having been rediscovered only a few years ago.

Three of these are felids!

Look ’em up:

Ploughshare tortoise
Iberian lynx
Sumatran rhino
Greater bamboo lemur
Sumatran tiger
Amur leopard
Hula painted frog
Axolotl (probably extinct in the wild, many survive in captivity)
Yangtze giant softshell turtle
Baiji dolphin (this one, I think, is already extinct)

Most of these are the so-called “charismatic macrofauna”: dramatic species that appeal to humans. But there are surely many more than these that are “uncharismatic microfauna,” including many frogs (e.g., A. coynei), beetles and other insects, and small denizens of habitats that are rapidly being plowed under.



16 thoughts on “Ten animals about to go extinct

  1. Several of these species are indeed literally on the brink of extinction. However, this video is a bit misleading in that some of these are being bred in captivity and may eventually be extirpated in the wild, but are unlikely to go extinct. I’m a bit perplexed by the inclusion of the axolotl. I have seen them in the wild (there is a breeding program in Mexico City) and they are bred in huge numbers in captivity. Note that the specimen they showed in the video is an albino form that is common in captivity but unknown in the wild. Perhaps they were referring to another neotenic salamander species. If they had provided a scientific name it would have helped.

    1. Oh, don’t worry. If an endangered species is truly important to us, the Free Market will swoop in and save it in a lab somewhere, so that we can churn out infinite clones. I mean, who needs genetic diversity?


      I think I strained an eye muscle.

  2. If we can’t (or won’t) save these ‘pretty’ species, there’s no chance for the ‘uglies’ 🙁

  3. The Iberian lynx might survive. The human population of Spain and France is stabilizing and people are moving out of the mountains.

    The Amur leopard could probably be restored by moving a few leopards from similar habitats into their range to increase genetic diversity. A similar plan has worked well when a few Texas cougars were introduced to the Florida panther population.

  4. I hope that we can all contribute something to preserving these and other less photogenic species. Since habitat loss is a major contributor to animal extinction, I am trying to do a small bit by volunteering in our local botanic gardens and arboretum.

  5. How painfully sad and depressing. I spent yesterday afternoon enjoying London’s Natural Histroy Mueseum. Sad to think that so many of today’s creatures will one day join the museum’s collection of extinct creatures.

  6. The axolotl, Ambystoma mexicanum, is NOT being bred in large numbers in captivity. The domestic axolotl was hybridised with Ambystoma tigrinum/mavortium in order to introduce the albino gene into the axolotl gene-pool because you know, albinos are cooooool or some other stupid shit.
    As a result of that introgression and the completely unrecorded history of chaotic breeding, nowadays it is impossible to know if a given domestic axolotl contains tigrinum genes or not, without genetic testing (which nobody is about to do). Every single individual that carries the albino gene is a guranteed hybrid of some degree, and every other individual, carrier or not, is suspect and of unknown genetics.
    There may exist some isolated bloodlines somewhere that have not been introgressed and have not being thoroughly domesticated like the domestic, commercial bloodlines, but if they exist they are certainly very, very rare and difficult to track.
    Other than those potential bloodlines, every other “axolotl” that exists in captivity is not a real Ambystoma mexicanum…it’s a domestic hybrid ambystomatid….

Leave a Reply