Dead or Alive: Have These Animals Gone Extinct?

Allison Lips

Is the dodo, a flightless bird that lived in Mauritius, still alive?

The dodo was bigger than a turkey. It is estimated that the bird weighed about 50 pounds.

The narwhal is sometimes called the unicorn of the sea, but is the narwhal extinct?

The International Union for Conservation of Nature estimates that there are over 100,000 narwhal individuals in the wild. The organization estimates that the average narwhal lives between 30 and 40 years.

Lonesome Geroge is the last Pinta Giant tortoise. Is he still alive or is his species extinct?

In the 19th century, Pinta Island tortoises were killed for food. The species was thought to be extinct until Lonesome George was found in 1971.

Was the West African black rhinoceros driven to extinction due to poaching?

In 2011, the Western black rhinoceros was declared extinct. Due to poachers seeking the rhinoceroses horns, preservation action was taken starting in the 1930s.

The aye-aye is the word's largest nocturnal primate. Is this unusual species extinct?

An aye-aye can live to be around 20 years old. The species can only be found on Madagascar. Aye-ayes are related to primates, such as chimpanzees and apes.

In the early-20th century, Japanese commercial fisherman harvested the Japanese sea lion. Is the Japanese sea lion extinct?

The Japanese sea lion used to be found in the Sea of Japan. While little is known about them, International Union for Conservation of Nature assumes they are similar to California sea lions.

There were once over a billion passenger pigeons. Is the species still in existence?

At one time, the passenger pigeon was the most populous species in North America. In the 1800s, the birds were hunted to extinction.

The Amur leopard is native to the Russian-Chinese border. Are there living members of the species or has it gone extinct?

Since 1996, the Amur leopard has been classified as Critically Endangered. Between 2007 and 2015, the Amur leopard population in Russia and northeastern China increased from 30 to almost 60 cats.

Cross River gorillas are wary of humans and have had limited contact with scientists. Has the species gone extinct?

There only 200 to 300 Cross River gorillas in the wild. They suffer from illegal hunting and habitat loss.

The quagga has stripes only on the front half of its body and is considered a subspecies of the Plains zebra. Is it extinct?

The quagga was native to South Africa. The quagga used to be though of as a separate species until DNA analyses showed it was a subspecies of the Plains zebra. In the 1980s, the Quagga Project was established to breed zebras that look like quagga.

The Sumatran orangutan has lost huge chunks of its environment due to deforestation. Is this orangutan extinct?

In the last 75 years, the Sumatran orangutan has lost 80 percent of its population. There are approximately 6,600 Sumatran orangutans living.

The saola is sometimes referred to as the Asian unicorn. Has the species gone extinct?

The saola can only be found in the Annamite Mountains forests, which are located on the Vietnam-Laos border. Humans first discovered the saola in 1992.

In 2003, scientists cloned the Pyrenean ibex. Is the species still alive?

In 2000, the Pyrenean ibex became extinct. During the 1990s, the population dropped to below 100. The animal lived in France and Spain.

The vaquita was discovered in 1958. Has the species gone extinct?

Vaquitas live in the northern Gulf of California. Illegal fishing has resulted in the vaquita population dwindling in the last few years.

The pangolin is the only mammal to be completely covered in scales. Is the species currently alive?

The pangolin is also known as the scaly anteater. There are eight species of pangolin: the Chinese, the Indian, the Malayan, the Palawan, the Tree, the Giant Ground, the Cape, and the Long-tailed.

The Tecopa Pupfish is a native of the North and South Tecopa Hot Springs in the Mohave desert. Is it extinct?

In the 1950s, the hot springs where the Tecopa pupfish lived became popular with tourists. This forced the fish to go downstream to colder water, which was not hospitable for the fish. The Tecopa pupfish has the distinction of being removed from the provisions of the Endangered Species act because it was extinct.

Is the only parrot species native to the eastern United States, the Carolina parakeet, still alive?

On Feb. 21, 1918, the last known male Carolina parakeet died at the Cincinnati Zoo. "Incas" died with in a year of "Lady Jane," who was his mate.

The great auk bred on the Faroe Islands and other rocky islands off the North Atlantic coast. Is it extinct?

In the early 1800s, great auks were killed by hunters. In June 1844, the last great auks were killed on Eldey Island, Iceland.

African wild dogs are native to Africa. Are they extinct?

Farmers often hunt and kill African wild dogs to protect their domestic animals. The dog's sub-Saharan habitat is also shrinking.

Steller's sea cow adults are approximately 30 feet long. Will you still find one in the Bering Sea or has the species gone extinct?

In 1768, Steller's sea cow was discovered. Thirty years later it was extinct due to sailors hunting the sea cow for food.

The Bengal tiger is native to India and parts of Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, China, and Myanmar. Is this species still alive?

In 1993, an international ban on tiger trading was put into place. Within the last 100 years, tigers have lost large portions of their habitats, which are also becoming fragmented.

The Borneo pygmy elephant is the smallest elephants in Asia. Will you still find them there?

There are approximately 1,500 Borneo pygmy elephants. DNA evidence showed that they were isolated from their cousins on mainland Asia and Sumatra about 300,000 years ago.

The Galapagos penguin is the only penguin species that lives north of the equator. Are they extinct?

The Galapagos penguin breeds on Isabella, Fernandina, Floreana and Santiago islands. In 2009, the population was estimated to be between 1,800 and 4,700 individuals.

The Saiga antelope is native to Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Russian Federation and Uzbekistan. Is it extinct?

There are approximately 50,000 Saiga antelopes left. The antelope is extinct in China and Ukraine.

In the 19th century, the Russian government order the extermination of all tigers. Did they succeed in eliminating the Caspian tiger?

Russia banned the hunting of the Caspian tiger in 1947. However, the last tiger at the Tigrovaya Balka Nature Reserve was seen in 1958. The last Caspian tiger is said to have been killed in 1970.

The red panda is native to Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar and Nepal. Is it extinct?

There are fewer than 10,000 red pandas left in the wild. The average lifespan for a red panda is 14 years.

The dusky seaside sparrow lived near salt marshes. Is it extinct?

There are two types of seaside sparrow, the dusky and the cape sable. While the dusky seaside sparrow is extinct, the cape sable is alive, but vulnerable.

Blobfish is mostly gelatinous flesh. Is it currently alive?

The blobfish lives at deep depths. However, it is feared to be endangered because the blobfish is frequently caught up in seafloor trawlers.

The Tasmanian tiger is a large carnivorous marsupial. Is it still alive?

The Tasmanian tiger was native to Australia. The last wild Tasmanian tiger was killed in the 1910s. The species officially went instinct in 1936 with the death of the last captive one.

The black spider monkey is one of seven spider monkey species found in Latin America. Is it extinct?

The black spider monkey is also called the Guiana spider monkey. They are considered an essential part of the tropical rainforest ecosystem because they disperse seeds.

Caribbean monk seal is the only seal native to the Caribbean. Are you able to see a living specimen?

The Caribbean monk seal was hunted for its blubber. The last confirmed Caribbean monk seal sighting was in the southern Caribbean. The species went extinct in 1952.

The aardvark lives in Africa. Is it extinct?

The current population of aardvarks is not known. While humans are destroying their habitat, the International Union for Conservation of Nature does not believe the aardvark population is shrinking.

The naked mole rat lives in colonies that contain between 75 and 80 individuals. Do they still exist or is the naked mole rat extinct?

Female naked mole rats can birth between one and 28 pups in one pregnancy. They can give birth every 76 to 84 days.

The golden toad was found at the Reserva Biologica Monteverde in Costa Rica. Can it still be seen there?

In the mid-1980s, Costa Rican rainforests became hotter and dryer, which made the golden toad vulnerable to the chytrid fungus. The fungus leads to a fatal skin disease that caused the overall amphibian population in the area to decline.

In 1932, a Lake Mackay hare-wallaby was found between Mount Farewell and Lake Mackay. Is the species extinct?

The Lake Mackay hare-wallaby is also konwn as the kuluwarri. It has been extinct since the 1950s.

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Image: Seng chye teo/Moment/Getty Images

About This Quiz

The International Union for Conservation of Nature and the World Wildlife Fund are dedicated to preserving the habitats of vulnerable species, raising awareness of endangered species and educating the world about the dangers of habitat destruction. 

National Geographic estimates that 100 to 1,000 species per million are lost every year. However, there is no way to calculate how many species will go extinct because no one knows how many species exist in the world or how many species have ever existed.

An untold number of species have become as dead as the dodo before humans discovered them. Some animals only have one specimen documented. Others had billions until humans drove them to extinction. While dinosaurs and the woolly mammoth went extinct thousands of years ago, many animals were frequently hunted in the 1800s. 

While humans are now trying to revive long-dead species, save endangered species and prevent more extinctions, it may be too late for some animals. Global warming and human interference play a huge role in disrupting the lives of animals. At times, conservationists find themselves doing too little, too late. 

If you are interested in conservation and animals, find out how much you know about extinct species with the quiz. Do you really know which species are extinct and which species can still be found in the wild or on wildlife reservations? 


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