This is quite a depressing topic. I’ve not even included another 5 candidates that are now extinct. The five animals are perhaps the best known to go extinct in the last thirteen years.

1. Baiji, or Chinese River Dolphin – Yellow River – 2006


Reported in Douglas Adam’s book, Last Chance to See, these unusual dolphins have been a victim of China’s rapid industrialisation and economic growth. Its main habitat, the Yellow River, is also a water highway for ships, fishermen and a carrier of waste. Unfortunately the pollution, physical interference of watercraft and underwater sonar distortion that disorientated the dolphins added up to too much disturbance for this uniquely adapted Chinese creature to survive. 


2. Western Black Rhino – West Africa – last remaining specimens died between 2000-2006


One of five Black Rhino sub-species that used to live in Africa, the Western Black Rhino was a victim of poaching that was neither punished or monitored. Like all rhinos, its horn was highly prized for alleged medicinal properties. The former number is unknown, no animals were kept in captivity and it is believed, but not confirmed, that the last individual was killed in 2011.


3. Pyrenean Ibex – Iberian Penninsula – 2000


The ibex is an unusual case of extinction. In addition poaching, it is believed the species could not compete for food sources with domesticated animals in the Pyrenees. There were slim hopes of reviving the species when researchers cloned in 2009, but it the specimen died due to ling defects.


4. Hawaiian Crow – Hawaiian Islands – 2002


Introduced avian diseases, the urbanisation and natural habitat reduction in Hawaii decimated this crow’s population.


5. Spix Macaw (Little Blue Macaw) – Northern Brazil – 2000


This macaw, whose relative the Blue Macaw is the main subject of the 2011 Hollywood animation Rio, has suffered mainly due to deforestation of the Brazilian jungles. Trapping and poaching, as well as being targeting by invasive species such as black rats, contributed to the Spix Macaw’s demise.


Top 5 animals to become extinct in the last decade