List of Extinct animals in India

15 Sep 2022  Read 1119 Views

Extinction of a particular animal or plant species occurs when there are no more individuals of that species alive anywhere in the world, or the species has died out, and endangered species on the other hand, are animals and plants considered to be in danger of extinction. A species may be listed as endangered at the state, federal, and international levels. The endangered species list is managed nationally under the Endangered Species Act. 

The Congress enacted the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 1973 according to which the National government has a responsibility to protect endangered species (species that are likely to become extinct in all or a large part of their range), threatened species, and critical habitats (areas essential for the survival of endangered or threatened species). In this article, we will discuss both extinct and endangered species in India, the criteria for endangered species and many more.

What are endangered species? 

The Endangered Species Act includes lists of globally and nationally protected species of flora and fauna. When the ESA protects a species, it is considered a "listed" species. Many other species are being evaluated for possible ESA protection and are referred to as “candidate” species. The Endangered Species Act is important because it prevents our native fish, plants, and wildlife from extinction. Once gone, they are gone forever, and there is no way back. The loss of a single species can have disastrous effects on the rest of the ecosystem, as these effects will be felt throughout the food chain. From providing cures for deadly diseases to maintaining natural ecosystems and improving the overall quality of life, the benefits of conserving endangered species are priceless, including the critically endangered ones.

An example of a critically endangered species is the Malabar large-spotted civet.

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How are species listed? 

The National Marine Fisheries Service investigates the health of a species, and they review scientific data collected by local, state, and national scientists. . To be on the list of candidates, a species must qualify for protection under the Endangered Species Act. When a species is listed as endangered or threatened depends on several factors, including urgency and whether appropriate protections are in place in other ways. When deciding whether a species should be added to the list of endangered species, the following criteria are evaluated: 

  • Has a large portion of the species' important habitats been degraded or destroyed?

  • Are species over-consumed for commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes?

  • Is the species threatened by disease or predators? 

  • Are existing regulations or laws sufficient to protect these species? 

  • Are there other man-made factors that threaten the long-term survival of this species?  

If the answer to one or more of the above questions is yes,  then the species may be listed under the Endangered Species Act. 

How to protect species?

When a species is listed as "threatened" or "endangered," that species receives special protection from the federal government. Animals are protected from "grabbing" and trading. A listed tree is protected if it is on federal property or if federal actions are involved, such as issuing a federal permit on private land.  

The term "take" is used in the Endangered Species Act to include "to harass, injure, pursue, chase, shoot, injure, kill, confine, capture or collect, or attempt to perform such acts." The law also protects against interference with vital reproductive and behavioral activities or the degradation of critical habitat. 

The main purpose of the Endangered Species Act is to make populations of species healthy and viable so that they can be removed from the Endangered Species Act. Under the Endangered Species Act, the United States Fish & Wildlife Service oversees listing and protecting all species of terrestrial animals, plants, and freshwater fish. NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service monitors marine fish and wildlife. Both organizations actively invest time and resources to help bring endangered or threatened species back to the brink of extinction.

What are the laws governing wildlife in India?  

Animal rights are enshrined under the Indian Constitution, and even wildlife protection is mentioned under Section 51A(g); citizens have a fundamental duty to protect wildlife and have compassion for living things. In addition, Article 48A states that the state also must protect, secure, and work to improve forests and wildlife in the country. The topic of protection of wild animals and birds is included in the concurrent list of the Constitution, which is Schedule VII, and Schedule III. This shows that the Union and the state government have the right to dominate the subject.

Over the past two decades, several species have been driven to extinction, largely through human intervention. Sometimes this interference is direct, poaching for big game titles or animal tusks. And sometimes, it's indirect, including disrupted land development and climate change. However, we can do things to reduce extinction rates, such as designating an area as a wildlife refuge or a species as "protected" or even creating a wildlife-friendly space.

List of Extinct animals in India

Slippery handfish 

The red handfish, a close relative of the now extinct catfish, was abundant in the waters around Australia just 200 years ago. Named for its uncanny resemblance to human arms and hands, the catfish - declared extinct in 2020 - also has a  mohawk-like spike on its head (much like humans). Its cousins ​​are shown here.) Currently, there is only one known preserved specimen of the extinct catfish worldwide. 

Causes of Extinction: Although the exact cause of extinction has not been determined, scientists believe that habitat loss and destructive fishing by other marine species, such as scallops and scallops, are unknown.  contributed to their demise

Northern white rhino 

The last two surviving northern white rhinos are female, with the last male dying in March  2018. Neither female can produce offspring, making the introduction of a new generation of the species highly unlikely. Scientists are working on using sex cells harvested and fertilized in vitro to create a lab-created northern white rhinoceros. 

Causes of Extinction: Poaching has decimated this population, and habitat loss has pushed the rhinoceros to extinction.  

Spix's macaw's

Spix's Macaw currently exists in captivity, with numbers ranging from a frighteningly low 60 to 80. This bird is also known as the "Little Blue Macaw" because It is known for its brilliant blue plumage. 

Cause of Extinction: Spix's Macaw is extinct in the wild due to habitat destruction, trapping, and illegal trade. 

Golden Toad 

The golden toad isn't the only species that have gone extinct over the past 40 years; the small toad was last sighted in 1989 in a rainforest in Costa Rica before being declared extinct in 1994. The deadly skin disease chytridiomycosis is thought to have wiped out the already established toad population. This vulnerability is due to what science calls "limited habitats and small populations." 

Causes of Extinction: Pollution, global warming, and chytrid skin infections have led to the extinction of this species.

The Indian Auroch

These magnificent creatures were bigger, stronger variations of regular cattle. They supposedly looked exactly like the existing Gaur, though slightly larger, and were very identical to them. Even though they were finally put to domestic use, auroch hunting continued.

Cause of extinction- Hunting, Habitat Loss, and crossbreeding.

Pink-headed duck

The pink-headed duck (Rhodonessa Caryophyllaceae), a huge diving duck, was once common in the riverine marshes of Myanmar, Bangladesh, and the Gangetic plains of India, but it has been thought to be extinct since the 1950s. This huge duck, already a rare animal discovered near the Ganges, hasn't been seen in 80 years.

Cause of extinction- hunting and habitat loss.

Himalayan quail

This bird has been listed as possibly extinct since the last verifiable report of it was made in Mussoorie in 1867. The Uttarakhand region used to be home to this medium-sized bird.

Cause of extinction- human hunting activities.

Indian Javan Rhinoceros

The Javan Rhino, once one of the most common rhinoceros species, is now one of the world's most endangered species. They are currently extinct in India. They once flourished throughout south-east Asia, including the Assam and Bengal areas, but today the only population is found in Java's Ujong Kulon National Park.

Cause of extinction- Stealing their horns.

What are the criteria for "Endangered species"? 

  • The population size has decreased significantly. 

  • The high percentage in recent years steady decline. 

  • The geographical area is rapidly shrinking.  

What is Extinction Rate in India?

The extinction rate of animals today is between 1,000 and 10,000 times higher than the natural rate of extinction, which is the rate of extinction without human encroachment and activity. 

What makes a species extinct?  

When there are very few animals left in the range where they can safely interbreed with other animals and raise young, and there is no habitat containing large numbers of these same animals, their species can have the ability to be extinct due to 

Over-hunting or over-exploiting 

This is the fate of most large animals, slow animals, and delicious animals when humans migrate to a previously uninhabited area. History abounds with stories of animals going extinct as a result of hunting and the consequent death of predators, if not from direct hunting, and subsequently starvation because they no longer have a food source. And it's a long story about wildlife decline leading to extinction and often their extinction. An extinct species, the Passenger Pigeon, is a prime example of how humans over-hunted one species, causing the entire species to become extinct.

A recent study found that the reason for the mass extinction of large mammals such as mammoths, mastodons, and camels in the Americas between 13,300 and 15,000 years ago was due to humans today. hunted them until they became extinct. This is the cause of some of the most endangered species today, such as elephants for their tusks and rhinos for their horns. The horn is sold at exorbitant prices as a cure for everything from hangovers to cancer. 

A rhinoceros resting 

The population of black rhinos was 65,000 in 1970, but a strange phenomenon occurred. Rising oil prices due to the OPEC oil embargo have made many formerly impoverished Yemenis very rich. Ceremonial daggers were issued to young Yemeni men as a rite of passage, and the most prized was made of black rhino horn, causing prices to skyrocket and black rhino numbers to drop. 

Loss of habitat 

This is one of the main causes of the drastic decline of species in the animal and plant worlds. Many species in our world today are threatened with extinction due to the loss of their primary habitat. Deforestation, the spread of agriculture, water extraction, mining, and human migration have destroyed the only habitat in which the species can survive or pushed the species into a severely fragmented habitat. , which usually only means a slower extinction of the species.  

Highly specialized species 

Rarity has its problems. Highly specialized species with specific habitat needs do not perform well in changing environments, such as climate change or habitat loss. A few or very few local populations only have problems due to a lack of suitable mates, and inbreeding causes many other problems. The higher the degree of inbreeding, the more than doubled the dose of the defective gene passed on, often resulting in sterility and premature death. 


The amphibian decline is one of the clearest measures of our biosphere's decline due to pollution. In Minnesota, many amphibians have extra legs or lack limbs due to birth defects caused by exposure to chemicals sprayed into the water to kill mosquitoes.  Although biologists have been unable to pinpoint a single cause of the recent rapid population decline and the extinction of many species, it appears to be largely due to pollution. 

For example, the peregrine falcon was nearly extinct in Canada when DDT was widely used before being banned

Introducing and competing for new species  

Invasive species are the main cause of loss of plant and animal diversity. It can take over when a new species arrives with no natural enemies in control.

High genetic vulnerability 

If a population has low genetic variation, it cannot evolve in the face of changing environmental variables and will face a higher risk of extinction. For example, if a population lacks a gene for resistance to a disease, that disease can completely wipe out the entire population. Some species, such as cheetahs, retain low genetic diversity, making them less able to adapt in the face of challenges such as over-predation or habitat loss.

This low genetic diversity also makes them susceptible to diseases and the expression of negative genetic mutations. The leopard family has a very narrow genetic code  Koalas are known to have low genetic variation, which may explain why they are at high risk for chlamydia and koala mutated virus. Their vulnerability may also make it harder for koalas to adapt to global warming and human encroachment on their habitat. 

A very rare specific species, to begin with 

Some species can only be found in certain areas. If initially only a limited number of individuals of a species exist and the environment changes, the likelihood that such a species will survive in the future is lower. Rare species can easily become extinct in the face of poaching. The Sumatran tiger is an example of a rare species that was hunted to the point of extinction because the number of individuals was very limited at first. Only 1,000 pikas, tiny mammals live in a remote mountain range in China. Rising temperatures have pushed them to the tops of the mountains. Air pollution from the Xinjiang region is believed to have contributed to its decline. Their removal from their habitat, vulnerability to pollution, and vulnerability to predators, because they are too silent in the wild to warn each other, make their existence as a species unlikely.

What are the benefits of conserving endangered species?  

A well-balanced ecosystem maintains the health of the environment. This ensures that people have access to clean air, water, and fertile soil for agriculture.  Clean air and water improve our quality of life, and fertile soil for agriculture ensures that we can produce enough food for our consumption. A balanced ecosystem also provides us with plants with healing properties.  So when the ecosystem is not maintained, our health can also suffer. That's why when you contribute to efforts to conserve endangered species, you also contribute to human life. 

How to contribute to the conservation of endangered species? 

Governments, nonprofits, international organizations, local communities, and individuals work together to help grow populations of endangered species. They also rely on awareness campaigns to engage more people in important conservation work. we can make an impact by learning and raising awareness about endangered species in your area and around the world. A sustainable way to do this is to volunteer and partner with governments and organizations on existing marine or wildlife conservation projects.

Cheetah Re-Introduction 

The Supreme Court approved the return of cheetahs to India in January 2020. Since then, wildlife enthusiasts have eagerly awaited to see cheetahs in the wild in India. The COVID-19 pandemic has delayed the process, especially due to the emergence of the Omicron variant in South Africa, where some cheetahs have had to relocate. However, the situation is improving and the process has accelerated again. 

An Indian delegation visited Namibia in February 2022 to discuss transit logistics with the Namibian government. Namibia will donate three cheetahs to move to India and become the first country from which jaguars will be moved to the Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh.  The cheetah, scientifically known as Acinonyx yangatus, is one of the oldest species of the big cat. It is also the fastest land mammal in the world and can run at speeds of 80 to 128 km/h. They are considered to be native to Africa and central Iran. 

Cheetahs are found in various habitats, such as steppe grasslands in the Serengeti (Kenya-Tanzania, Africa), arid mountain ranges in the Sahara, and mountainous desert terrain in Iran. The cheetah is threatened by several factors, such as habitat loss, conflict with humans, poaching, and high susceptibility to disease. In 2016, the global cheetah population was estimated at  7,100 adults.

Historically distributed over most sub-Saharan Africa and extending eastward into the Middle East and central India, cheetahs are now mainly distributed in small populations dispersed in central Europe. Africa, Iran, and southern, eastern, and northwestern Africa. 

Image: Special Plane to transport the 8 cheetahs to india

What is the action plan for the cheetah reintroduction in india? 

Under the action plan, the Indian government will bring in 50 cheetahs over the next five years to form a founding population of the species. In addition, the previous coverage states of the cheetah i.e. Gujarat, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, and Madhya Pradesh, will be accurately analyzed by experts. Under the plan, India will move about 12 to 14 cheetahs from South Africa, Namibia, and Botswana to Kuno Palpur National Park in Madhya Pradesh. Kuno National Park was chosen for its suitable habitat and adequate prey base. KNP is 748 km2. In the area, there are no human settlements, and it is estimated to have the potential to support 21 species of cheetahs. Each cheetah will also be fitted with a Satellite/GSM-GPS-VHF radio collar before releasing them into the wild to enable remote tracking. It could be the world's first transcontinental leopard transfer project.  

What are the expected benefits of reintroducing cheetahs?

1. Suitable Living Conditions: Cheetahs have lived and thrived in the Indian subcontinent for centuries, so bringing them back is a practical step. In addition, the proposed site Kuno is a forest, and leopards are known to be able to survive in the forest. Jaguars are pretty good at navigating thorny shrubs and acacias in places like Kenya's Maasai Mara Game Reserve (adjacent to Tanzania's Serengeti National Park). 

2. Enough prey: Kuno National Park has good prey for cheetahs, including four-horned antelope, chinkara, nilgai, wild boar, spotted deer, and sambar. Stabilize the ecosystem: Saving the cheetah requires not only saving its prey, including several endangered species but also endangered grasslands and woodland ecosystems. other strains. 

3. Less likelihood of human-animal conflict: It has also been observed that among large carnivores, conflict with human interests is lowest for cheetahs. They pose no threat to humans and do not easily attack large herds. 

4. Economic implications: The rebirth of an iconic species such as the cheetah will attract significant tourism to the states of the cheetah range. This will boost other sectors like transportation, hotels, etc., and create more jobs.  What are the challenges associated with reintroducing cheetahs? Genetic differences: Many experts expressed concern about the inclusion of the African cheetah instead of the Asian cheetah. They think the Asian cheetah would be a better choice, given the species' historical existence in the region.


Extinction is hard to see. We may not realize how much of the natural world has been lost because the "baseline" changes from generation to generation. Previous generations would consider what we consider natural today to be horribly corrupt, and what we consider perverse today, our children will regard as natural. 

Here are some things we can do to protect endangered species and prevent their extinction: 

  • Eat less meat. Soybean production is one of the main causes of deforestation, and most soybean meal is used as animal feed.  

  • Buy organic food because organic farmers only use natural or non-synthetic pesticides on their crops.

  • Synthetic pesticides can be toxic to other organisms.  

  • Choose sustainable seafood The Marine Stewardship Council provides a list of certified sustainable fish for responsible eating.

  • Do not purchase products from endangered or threatened species, such as turtle shells, ivory, coral, certain animal skins, or "traditional" medicines.

  • Be aware of the origins of palm oil used in countless food and cosmetic products.

  • Many tropical forests are being cleared to grow palm oil. If a product contains palm oil, make sure it comes from non-deforested plantations. 

  • Reduce your plastic consumption. If you have a garden, plant native shrubs and flowers that attract butterflies and other pollinators. 

  • Cheetah reintroduction is viable in India, considering the species that used to exist within the area for centuries. However, the related worries ought to be duly addressed to ensure their long-term survivability.

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About the Author: Shivam Pathak | 23 Post(s)

Shivam is pursuing a BA. LL. B (HONS.) 5-year integrated course from Amity University, Raipur, Chhattisgarh. With a core interest in Criminal and Civil Law, his hobbies are reading books and listening to songs in his free time.

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