10 Recently Extinct African Animals

By Cristina Costea


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, BookAllSafaris.com presents 10 recently extinct animals that unfortunately you won’t be seeing on your next African safari.


  1. Bubal Hartebeest

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.

  1. Small Mauritian Flying Fox


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.

  1. Dodo

4Image 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.


  1. Aurochs


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 loss of habitat, hunting and diseases that they got from domesticated cattle.


  1. Mauritius Blue Pigeon


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 creature into extinction in a matter of decades.


  1. 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.


  1. Elephant Bird


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.


  1. Cape Lion


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.


  1. Western Black Rhinoceros


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. Quagga


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.


Cristina Costea

Cristina is a writer for BookAllSafaris.com. She is a passionate traveler, cat aficionado and novice writer.

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Elaine is a Contributing Writer for BookAllSafaris.com. She is constantly in awe of the majestic animals living in the wild alongside us and does what she can to help conserve their habitat.

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  1. 24th October 2017

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