It can be easy to think that our favorite animals will be around forever, but what happens when their time comes to an end? Sadly, it usually means it’s the end for a species, especially when it comes to animals that ended up being the last of their kind.
Martha, the passenger pigeon
There were once hundreds of millions of passenger pigeons, but that all changed when their numbers dropped from six billion to a handful by the 20th century. Game hunting and deforestation were mainly to blame for their downfall. Martha was born and raised in Cincinnati Zoo, where she lived for 29 years before passing away in 1914. Amazingly, her preserved body is still available to see in Washington, D.C.
Toughie, the rabbs’ fringe-limbed tree frog
Toughie quickly went on to become the first and last of the rabbs’ fringe-limbed tree frog. He was first discovered in 2005 in Panama but was rescued and taken to a conservation garden to save him from a worrying virus. Although researchers eventually heard more of Toughie’s kind in the wild, they all lost their lives within a few years. Toughie eventually passed away in 2016, and it seems the species went with him.
Turgi, the Polynesian tree snail
Believe it or not, but it was African giant land snails that were the end of the Polynesian tree snail as people wanted to use them as lawn ornaments. Humans tried to introduce another invasive snail to control the problem, but they turned to eating the Polynesian tree snail instead. Turgi passed in 1996 in London Zoo, where his grave reads “1.5 million years BC to January 1996.”
Celia, the Pyrenean ibex
Believe it or not, but Celia, the Pyrenean ibex, went extinct not once but twice. Competition from domestic cattle and hunting led to their extinction, with Celia being the last of her kind. However, biologists found her body and used skin samples to close the Pyrenean ibex in 2003. Sadly, the clone lost its life just minutes after it was born.
Benjamin the thylacine
Tasmanian tigers, or thylacines, were once one of the more unusual animals in the world. They had a pouch just like a kangaroo while their front half looked like a striped dog. They were a type of carnivorous marsupial that quickly dwindled across Australia due to illness, loss of habitat, and hunting. Benjamin was captured in 1933 but passed away three years later due to neglect.
Lonesome George the Pinta Island tortoise
Lonesome George is one of the most famous animals that ended up being the last of his kind. Still, for years, people already thought the species was gone. Researchers tried to find George a date for years and succeeded, but mating was unsuccessful. In 2012, George lost his life at an estimated over 100 years old.
The animals that ended up being the last of their species might be gone, but their memory will never be forgotten. Thankfully, scientists can still learn a lot from those who have fallen.