The Animals That Came Back From Extinction: Here's All You Need To Know

Supriya Jain
Mar 21, 2023 By Supriya Jain
Originally Published on Mar 21, 2023
Edited by Archita Chaplot
Fact-checked by Shruti Khandelwal
Animals that came back from extinction often first went extinct due to hunting and habitat loss.

Until the day, what has presented humans with the hefty looks of mammoths with giant tuskers, mega canines of dinosaurs, and spindly Tasmanian tigers parading their choppers is VFX!

But you can’t touch these creatures in the face, not only because they are rather gnarly to speak to; they have long made a permanent exit from our world. All thanks to human actions like hunting and habitat loss due to climate change, many of these animals are featured on the endangered species list.

Now here’s the good news! Some animals that did not appear anywhere for a considerable period and were ultimately declared extinct have resurfaced.

Those survivors likely faced many atrocities from human beings in the form of poaching, leisure hunting, climate change, natural predation, extensive habitat loss, and more. Sadly this has not stopped yet, as there are still many faunal species that are on the verge of dying out.

Some vulnerable species are fortunate enough to get timely attention to prevent them from disappearing altogether. While many others remain out of sight until it is too late to realize. Breeding programs at nature preserves have helped many endangered animals to make a comeback from the endangered list and thrive in their natural habitat.

Read on to learn more about the importance of the breeding program and federal protection in helping animals and birds on the endangered list to be safe.

Extinction Meaning With Example

Extinction can be defined as an event where the population of an animal species reduces dramatically due to human actions as well as natural events. As a result, the species ceases to exist and is considered extinct.

For instance, a species may disappear due to natural calamity, habitat fragmentation, genetic inbreeding, vigorous climate change, meek reproduction, or a decreased population count. Manmade factors include acts such as overexploitation, overhunting, pollution, and deforestation.

Researchers have recorded an unusually large-scale extinction of species diversity through fossil studies, also called mass extinction. It has a terrible impact on a specific geographical area, annihilating numerous plants and animals.

Such large-scale extinction of so many species on Earth was the result of natural and extraterrestrial calamities, like earthquakes, asteroid impacts, and even global warming.

Activities of modern human beings are also a cause of the extinction of several animal species. It involves turning wetlands and forests into croplands, overcropping, bringing in new invasive species, illegal hunting, and pollution.

Extinct species such as the Dodo bird, the woolly mammoth, and dinosaurs are classic examples of how this concept can be understood. Although scientists are working on reviving Dodos, the other two creatures have disappeared permanently.

Despite the extinction of countless wild species from the planet owing to mean human endeavors, we have barely improved in our ways. Most humans go about with the usual course of action, not giving a thought to the environment and Earth.

List Of Extinct Animals

Theoretically, any species that could not be tracked down in the wild in the past 50 years of recent time is declared ‘extinct’. Just as one mentions ‘extinct animals,’ a typical image that pops up in the mind is that of a fierce dinosaur, likely from 'Jurassic Park'!

Isn’t it? Though, there are incalculable numbers of species that have vanished and never reappeared.

Here’s an informative look at the role of fauna that is extinct. Read on and enjoy!

Some examples of extinct animals around the world:

Cave tiger, cave lion, Chinese elephant, dodo, Mauritius blue pigeon, passenger pigeon, Australian night parrot, red-crowned parakeet, paradise parrot, Eurasian aurochs, stellar’s sea cow, Asiatic cheetah, pink-headed duck, Asian straight-tusked elephant, big-eared hopping mouse, white-footed rabbit rat, western rufous bristlebird, and sharp snouted day frog.

It is the responsibility of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to analyze and provide the extinction numbers for the public. It issued a list of recently extinct fauna as well, which is laid out below:

Desert Rat Kangaroo; American Bison; Desert Bandicoot; Paras Pupfish; Golden Skiffa; Wellington’s Solitary Coral; Gould’s Mouse; Robert’s stonefly.

These are not exhaustive lists of all the extinct fauna species, as there are millions of them.

List Of Extinct Animals That Came Back

Humans were way ahead of the game in facilitating the wipeout of several fauna species. They incurred wrath on their natural homes and lifestyles via different activities in the name of modernization and space.

The endangered animals were bludgeoned into a virtually irreversible disappearance. To declare specific taxa extinct, the responsible institution waits and probes for half a century. If the species cannot be detected, then it is considered extinct, meaning it will never be found again.

There were, however, some species that disappeared, including the bald eagle, American bison, stellar sea lion, and Peregrine falcon.

Here’s a list of the top 10 extinct species that have come back.

The American alligator, Galapagos giant tortoise, southern white rhinoceros, California condor, blue whale, fisher’s estuarine moth, giant panda, horned marsupial frog, San Quintin kangaroo rat, Caspian horse, island night lizard, sea otter.

This is not an elaborate listing of all the extinct animals that survived ultimate extinction, as there are more. Their resurgence raises the hope of conservationists to save the wildlife we have at the moment and strive for more numbers for the extremely vulnerable ones.

The process involves captive breeding as well as focusing on extant species on the move.

Woolly mammoth is one such animal whom the scientists are trying to revive.

Is it possible for extinct animals to come back?

With the cutting-edge technology humans possess, the question of resurrecting extinct wild species does not appear absurd, for scientists successfully attempted animal cloning when they forged ‘Dolly,’ a clone of sheep.

The process of bringing lost species back, also called de-extinction, is interesting and controversial at the same time. In her book 'How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction', Beth Shapiro, an evolutionary biologist, explores questions like deciding which species should be revived and sequencing their ancient DNA from museum specimens.

This requires immense effort as science falls short.

This process can be made possible by using cells from closely related species to extinct species. Herein genome editing can play a crucial part in the de-extinction process.

The breeds that should have been extinct shocked people with their reappearance after a considerable period of disappearance. They get to wear the label of critically endangered species, meaning they require extra care for preservation and breeding.

Bermuda Petrel, for instance, was extinct for 330 years until 36 were recently rediscovered in 1951. Thankfully, the species count has managed to increase continuously over the past 50 years.

How many species have humans wiped out?

As stated earlier, extinction can be brought about by natural factors and human-induced factors.

Stats are shocking, claiming that humans have wiped out about 60% of mammals, fish, reptiles, and birds since 1970. This rate of extinction is alarming. Nature, our support system, is about to collapse. Executive director of science and conservation at WWF, Mike Barrett, warns that people are 'sleepwalking towards the edge of a cliff'.

The US, too, stepped up to protect imperiled species from going extinct, bypassing the Endangered Species Act of 1973.

Floods, climate change, killing for food, dam building, and urbanization are all contributing to stretching the list of endangered species further. Around 300 species have become extinct owing to overfishing over the decades and poaching for food around the world.

The danger also looms over killer whales, one of the largest animals on the planet, dying out due to PCB contamination, a highly toxic industrial waste.

Researcher Barrett proposes a direct link between declining wildlife and the food system, where he suggests consuming less meat to reverse the losses.

What are the dangers and benefits of bringing extinct animals back?

What would the scene look like if a wooly mammoth or a tyrannosaurus appeared? Most likely, they would keep other beasts from entering our alleys and towns, knocking vehicles off the road or worse.

It is difficult for researchers to decide which taxa to work on for de-extinction and the associated risks.

Benefits of resurrecting extinct animals:

  • Avail vital scientific information.
  • The cloning process marks a significant advancement in science.
  • It can support the ecosystem.
  • Dangers of resurrecting extinct animals:
  • They will unlikely survive in today's drastically changing climate.
  • The de-extinction process raises several concerns.
  • People may step in to exploit the resurrected species.

Nonetheless, scientific efforts are still pushing to save and preserve several animals on the verge of extinction. The UNESCO World Heritage Site Yellowstone National Park, is the most famous and largest megafauna locale, protecting many fauna and flora.

Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council is also lending a hand to conserve marine mammals, seabirds, sea turtles, and more via extensive breeding programs.

Why can’t we clone extinct animals? Can Dodos be brought back?

While clarifying the cloning process and requirements, Beth Shapiro explains why we have not been able to clone mammoths to date. For triggering an exact clone of any species, it requires a living cell to be worked on in vivo.

Extinct species that have been brought back to life as they were were either frozen in a lab or found in fossils that are not too old.

Dainty Dodos have always remained a hot topic to discuss in the context. Scientists are trying to bring the bird to life by cloning its closest living kin.

As of 2020, researchers in the field are trying to bring back the following species: 

  • Quagga
  • Baiji
  • Dodo
  • Tasmanian Tiger
  • Ground sloth
  • Woolly Mammoth
  • Saber-toothed Tiger

However, this isn't a complete list. Human activities such as rampant hunting and modernization still pose the same threat of habitat loss and extinction. Scientists predict a scary scenario of half of the earth’s species being wiped out completely by 2050.

Some of these under intense threat are:

  • Polar Bear
  • Przewalski's horse (a wild horse)
  • Giant Panda
  • Bees
  • Dolphins
  • Cheetah and Tiger species

Imagine Antarctica without polar bears, a world without bees, honey, and no dolphins to amuse! Rather, we would have just an album full of pictures of these creatures to familiarize future generations with them. That's a shame, we didn't realize it!

How can you help endangered species?

Admirable, though, of course! Here are some vital steps you can take to protect and prevent vulnerable breeds from bidding farewell.

  • Proper disposal of waste
  • Avoid using harsh chemicals in the household
  • Adopt a reuse and recycling policy
  • Support the organization working for the conservation of critical species
  • Reduce or eliminate meat, dairy, or eggs from your dish
  • Protect water resources and avert soil erosion

As a result of these brave conservation efforts, we could see the natural world flourish again.

Make the Endangered Species Act more effective by including severe punishments for individuals or organizations responsible for the threat to endangered animal species.

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Written by Supriya Jain

Bachelor of Commerce, Master of Business Administration specializing in Marketing

Supriya Jain picture

Supriya JainBachelor of Commerce, Master of Business Administration specializing in Marketing

As a skilled member of the Kidadl team, Shruti brings extensive experience and expertise in professional content writing. With a Bachelor's degree in Commerce from Punjab University and an MBA in Business Administration from IMT Nagpur, Shruti has worked in diverse roles such as sales intern, content writer, executive trainee, and business development consultant. Her exceptional writing skills cover a wide range of areas, including SOP, SEO, B2B/B2C, and academic content.

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Fact-checked by Shruti Khandelwal

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Economics and Computer Applications, Postgraduate Diploma in Management specializing in Finance

Shruti Khandelwal picture

Shruti KhandelwalBachelor of Arts specializing in Economics and Computer Applications, Postgraduate Diploma in Management specializing in Finance

Shruti holds a Bachelor's degree specializing in Economics and Computer Applications from the University of Delhi and is currently pursuing a Postgraduate Diploma in Management specializing in Finance at the Jagan Institute of Management Studies. With three internship experiences under her belt, Shruti has developed a deep interest in the intersection of finance and operations.

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