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10 Recently Extinct African Animals

by Cristina Costea

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Animals go extinct. While that’s sad, it’s just a fact of life. What’s tragic, though, is when man has a hand in their extinction. 

You’ve probably heard of the thylacine, Australia’s marsupial dog that was hunted until it became extinct in the early 1900’s. It was an exquisite animal, and if you look at photos (there’s even a fascinating video) of it, it almost seems out of this world. Scientists have been trying to clone it and there have been reports of thylacine sightings, but no success just yet.

Africa, just like Australia, has had its fair share of animals going extinct and in today’s article, we’re sharing a list of 10 (fairly) recent extinct animals that unfortunately you won’t be seeing on your next African safari.


10. The Bubal Hartebeest


extinct animals

Image source: Extinction around the World

Extinction Date: 1923

The bubal hartebeest roamed freely north of the Sahara, from Morocco to Egypt. However, that all came to a sudden stop when the French came to Algeria and massacred them. Soon, the Bubal Hartebeest could only be found in the mountains. Following more poaching, the species became extinct, with the last captive bubal hartebeest dying in captivity in a Paris zoo in 1923.


9. The Small Mauritian Flying Fox


extinct animals

Image source: Wikipedia

Extinction Date: 1800’s

The small Mauritian flying fox wasn’t a fox at all, it was actually a bat, or a megabat to be more precise. These giant bats were nocturnal animals and lived on tree sap and soft fruit and were present in large numbers on the islands of Réunion and Mauritius. The possible reason behind their extinction was deforestation and hunting, although not much is known about this animal and its disappearance.


8. The Dodo


extinct animals

Image source: Motherboard

Extinction Date: 1700’s

The dodo bird was a large flightless bird endemic to the island of Mauritius, Africa. It is one of the most famous, if not the most famous, extinct animal, partly because of its appearances in books and popular culture. It was featured in the original illustrations of Alice in Wonderland, as well as giving birth to the expression as dead as the dodo. Humans can’t take all the credit for this wonderful bird’s extinction, as nature also played a part in this.


7. The Aurochs


extinct animals

Figure 2Image source: Wikipedia

Extinction Date: 1627

The aurochs were large cattle that dominated North Africa, Europe, and Asia. By the12th century, they were already scarce. Even though at some point poaching these animals got you the death penalty, it didn’t stop them from becoming extinct. The official reasons behind their disappearance were the loss of habitat, hunting, and diseases that they got from domesticated cattle.


6. The Mauritius Blue Pigeon


extinct animals

Image source: Ferrebeekeeper

Extinction Date: 1830’s

These days, people don’t care much for pigeons, they are even called rats with wings because of their constant interference with our lives. But back in the 1700’s the blue pigeon was happy and healthy on the island of Mauritius. The Mauritius blue pigeon and the humans coexisted for a mere 200 years. And, as the tale goes, rapid deforestation and hunting managed to drive this tiny yet majestic creature into extinction in a matter of decades.


5. The Atlas Bear


Image source: Extinct Animals

Extinction Date: 1800’s

You would never think Africa had bears, right? Well, it did, and the Atlas Bear was actually Africa’s only native bear that survived on the continent until modern times. As the name suggests, the bear lived in the Atlas Mountains and its decline was set off by the Roman empire which hunted the bear extensively. The extinction was achieved once modern firearms came to Africa. 


4. The Elephant Bird

extinct animals

Image source: Yale

Extinction Date: 1600s

Yet another creature that vanished at the hands of man, the elephant bird, or the aepyornis, was a giant, flightless bird that lived in Madagascar. It weighed up to 880 lb (400 kg) and measured up to 9.8 ft (3 m) in height. Its eggs were a whopping 160 times larger than a chicken egg, which made people heavily reliant on them for food. This only lead to the species’ demise.



3. The Cape Lion

extinct animals

Image source: Wikipedia

Extinction Date: 1850’s

Another majestic animal hunted until extinction, the Cape lion was a subspecies of lion characterized by its black mane. Some descendants of the Cape lion were believed to exist, but nothing has been officially confirmed. Unfortunately, this King of the Jungle is forever lost and nobody will ever get the pleasure of seeing it on a South African Safari.


2. The Western Black Rhinoceros


extinct animals

Image source: Poetry 24

Extinction Date: 2006

For a species to be declared extinct so recently, with all our conservational efforts, knowledge and information, is incredibly tragic. The Western black rhino was a subspecies of the black rhino and it mainly lived in Cameroon. The reason why the western black rhino became extinct was massive poaching. Its horn was believed by many to hold healing powers, which was obviously false.


1. The Quagga

extinct animals

Image source: Wikipedia

Extinction Date: 1883

The quagga was a subspecies of zebra that roamed freely in Southern Africa. Unfortunately, the Dutch settlement caused the demise of this lovely creature. The quagga was heavily hunted, and some specimens were taken to Europe for zoos, but breeding them had turned out to be unsuccessful. The last quagga died in 1883 in a zoo in Amsterdam. It was the first extinct animal to have its DNA analyzed, which revealed information about its close relatives.


Excited to spot some African safari animals while they’re still thriving? Even better, do you want to give a helping hand to the animals and their habitat? Then, head on over to our website and book yourself an conservation safari now! 

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