Yesterday the International Union for Conservation of Nature declared Africa’s Western Black Rhino officially extinct, largely the result of illegal poaching for their horns.
But the Black Rhino is just one animal in a long list of species that have been wiped out almost directly at the hands of humans.
Animals face many natural threats, including changing temperatures, predators, and unexpected disasters. But no external stresses have proved more destructive to the survival of other living organisms than man.
The woolly mammoth disappeared about 10,000 years ago, likely due to the combined pressures of hunting by humans and climatic warming.
The prehistoric beasts lived in the tundras of Asia, Europe, and North America.
For centuries, the flightless Dodo bird lived undisturbed on the island of Mauritius off the coast of Africa. Because they had no enemies on the island, the wingless birds were easy prey when humans arrived in the early 16th century.
Although the exact date is uncertain, people believe the last dodo bird was killed in 1681.
The Passenger Pigeon was once the most ubiquitous bird in North America, numbering in the billions.
The bird was wiped out due to overhunting and deforestation following the arrival of European settlers in the 19th century.
By the 1890s, the Passenger Pigeon had almost completely disappeared. The last captive Passenger Pigeon, named 'Martha,' died at the Cincinnati Zoological Garden in 1924.
The Tasmanian tiger, also called the thylacine, was a marsupial native to Australia and the island of Tasmania.
The dog-like creature, which was seen as a threat to sheep, was hunted, trapped, and poisoned for government bounties.
The last wild Tasmanian tiger was captured in 1933 and taken to the Hobart Zoo, where it died three years later.
This extinct antelope once lived throughout much of Northern Africa and the Middle East. It was pushed toward extinction by European hunters in the 1900s.
The last remaining Bubal Hartebeest was shot between 1945 and 1954 in North Africa.
The Javan tiger roamed the Indonesian island of Java in large numbers during the 19th century.
By the early 1970s, the tigers were driven to extinction by encroaching human populations, the disappearance of important prey species, and the merciless hunting and poisoning by natives.
The Zanzibar leopard, a subspecies of leopard endemic to the Zanzibar archipelago of Tanzania, is believed to have gone extinct sometime in the mid-1990s.
The animal became the target of a brutal extermination campaign after many island natives believed the leopards were kept by witches to menace their fellow villagers.
The Spix's Macaw, a blue-winged parrot endemic to Brazil, is still listed as critically endangered but is most likely extinct in the wild.
Trapping and hunting contributed to the species' rapid decline in the 1970s and 1980s.
About 70 Spix's Macaw's still live in captivity, but the last known individual in the wild disappeared at the end of 2000.
Native to the Pyrenees in France and Spain, the Pyrenean Ibex became extinct in 2000 after the last known surviving individual was killed by a tree.
The form of wild goat was decimated by extensive hunting during the 18th and 19th centuries.
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