From Tasmanian tigers to rare Mexican grizzlies, we count fifteen animals that are thought to be extinct but may not be!
15 – Woolly Mammoth
- Standing at an imposing eleven feet tall and weighing up to six and a half tonnes – about as heavy I am after Christmas dinner – the Woolly Mammoth is a legendary mammal that lived alongside early humans around 200,000 years ago.
- It was reported extinct around 2,000 B.C., but people have reported sightings of ‘elephant-like’ creatures since. In 1948, frozen mammoths were discovered in Siberia with their meat still fresh.
- Isolated populations of mammoths are said to have survived on Wrangel Island in the Arctic Ocean until just 4,000 years ago, which increases the possibility that some could have survived in the remote and unexplored wilds of Siberia.
- Scientists want to clone the animal back to life using mammoth carcasses, but are considering the ethical implications of this.
14 – Thylacine
- Thylacine means ‘dog-headed pouched one’ in Greek, but it’s more commonly known as the Tasmanian tiger.
- These native Australian animals were hunted for being a threat to livestock and officially died off in 1936.
- However, reported sightings have regularly occurred since, both in Tasmania and mainland Australia. None of these have been scientifically confirmed, but some were reported by credible – *cough* sober – people, so there could be some credence to the claims.
13 – Eastern Cougar
- The Eastern Cougar is a subspecies of the better-known North American Cougar.
- They were declared officially extinct in 2011 by US Fish and Wildlife Service – but there have been an enormous amount of sightings in practically every East Coast state since. Maybe they’ve just gone off the grid for awhile, or are in some sort of animal witness protection program.
- Entire websites are dedicated to photographs and sightings, and footprints, scat and fur have all been reported – even though this animal has been declared extinct.
12 – Javan Tiger,
- Javan Tigers were native creatures of Indonesia’s Java Island until the mid-1970s. Island inhabitants have gradually acquired more and more land to cultivate rice, which led to the slow extinction of these tigers.
- Like most of the animals on this list, humans are responsible for hunting them out of existence. There’s only so far you can go when you’re being hunter on an island.
- The last official citing of the animal occurred in 1976.However, there were reported sightings by island villagers in 2009 and 2010.
- Activist Wahyu Giri Prasetyo still finds evidence of the tiger today – mostly hair and scat – so he believes it’s still alive, just in small numbers.
11 – Coelacanth,
- Coelacanths are an ancient order of fish that are believed to have gone extinct at the end of the Cretaceous period more than sixty-five million years ago.
- At least until 1938, when one was miraculously discovered off the South African east coast near the mouth of the Chalumna River.
- These fish are closely related to lungfishes and tetrapods, and are among the oldest living jawed fishes known to exist. Before their apparent extinction, they were thought to live as long as a hundred years and swim at depths of a hundred metres.