Mankind has the honour of quite possibly being the most destructive force to ever hit Mother Nature. With 150 to 200 species of life ceasing to exist every 24 hours, a mass extinction is looming, and biodiversity is in crisis.
Periods of extinction are nothing new in the planet’s history, but species extinction in the past 10 years is far greater than anything the world has experienced in the past 65 million years. Humankind’s unsustainable production and consumption are without a doubt the major contributing factor. For the first time since the disappearance of the dinosaurs, humans are driving both animal and plant species to extinction faster than new ones can evolve.
Although we can’t honour them all, here’s a glimpse at just some of the beautiful creatures that we’ve lost forever in the last decade:
West African Black Rhinoceros
Officially declared extinct in 2011, the majestic West African Black Rhino was a victim of rampant poaching. Hunted for its horn, which is believed by some in China and Yemen to possess aphrodisiacal qualities, conservationists searched for signs of its last remaining habitat in Cameroon in 2006, but were unable to find any traces. The West African Black Rhino was one of four subspecies of rhinoceros. The other three remaining subspecies are all critically endangered.
Caribbean Monk Seal
Even though nobody has sighted a Caribbean Monk Seal since 1952, it wasn’t until 2008 that this impressive creature was declared extinct. Hunted extensively for its blubber for use in oil lamps and machinery in the 1700s and 1800s, the Caribbean Monk Seal was an unaggressive and curious animal. Early habitat destruction and human hunting was likely to blame for their demise, as these once abundant seals were regarded as ‘competitors’ by fisherman.
Po’ouli / Black-faced Honeycreeper
Native to Hawaii, the Po’ouli or Black-faced Honeycreeper was only discovered in the 1970s at which point they were already on the decline. Efforts were made to get the remaining birds to breed, but attempts were unsuccessful, and the last one of its kind died in 2004. Changes to Hawaii’s ecosystem caused by non-native species, along with habitat loss and disease, are the main reasons why we have lost this unique bird.
This article was reblogged from Care 2.
Read more at: Care 2 – Gone, But Not Forgotten: Species We’ve Lost in the Last 10 Years