Despite modern medications and hospital utilities, it is still tough to save a life. Hats off to those conservation organizations/authorities to revive such beautiful creatures from extinction. 

Why are animals in danger in the first place?

Well, the fundamental threats that led to the species being extinct extensively entail habitat loss and fragmentation, introducing non-native species, massive use of synthetic pesticides, illegal poaching, and much more.

To some extent, some animals have revived back after reaching the extinction category.

( Recommended – extinct species of bird and plants)

Table of Contents

1. Blue Whale

blue whale swimming underwater
Blue whale | Image Credit – News Room
Scientific NameBalaenoptera musculus
Extinct/ Nearly Extinct onExtinct at the end of the 20th century
Extinction reasonImprovement in fishing technology, boating advancements, massive demand of the people in the oil and the meat
Brought back byInternational Convention for the Regulation of Whaling
Status provided by IUCNEndangered

The Blue Whale, inferred by the biological name (Balaenoptera musculus), is regarded as the largest animal on the mother planet and the largest whale species.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) reveals that they were highly abundant at the onset of the 20th century in almost all the oceans throughout the globe.

The blue whale once faced extinction at the end of the 20th century. There were multiple causes and threats which led the blue whale to extinction. 

For instance: Improvement in fishing technology, boating advancements, massive demand of the people in the oil and the meat caused the declining populations of the blue whale.

Ironically, to express that only 0.2% of the blue whales remained from 1900 to 1970. It critically reflects on how massively the populations of the blue whales had declined within a limited period.

But later on, with the attention from the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling in the year 1966, the conservation efforts to protect the Blue Whale started gradually.

Globally, the population of the mature Blue Whale reached between 5,000 to 15,000 as of 2018, which signifies a massive increment in its population.

But recently, it has been ongoing through several threats such as shipping strikes, nest entanglement, oceanic plastic pollution, and predation by killer whales.

2. Mallorcan midwife toad

Mallorcan midwife toad
Mallorcan midwife toad | Image Credit – Zoo Chat
Scientific NameAlytes muletensis
Extinct/ Nearly Extinct onExtinct over 2,000 years
Extinction reasonLand, water use, and rural tourism
Brought back bycaptive breeding programs and awareness
Status provided by IUCNVulnerable

Mallorcan midwife toad (Alytes muletensis) is regarded as one of the most miniature toads throughout the globe.

It could adapt to the changing habitat. At one time, the species was thought to be extinct worldwide.

Because of the considerable threat from the invasive species known as viperine snake, the population of Mallorcan midwife toad went decreasing and has limited its population to the small basically in the limestone mountain tops.

The population is confined to a tiny population within a short period. The primary cause of this outcome entails the alteration of land, water use, and rural tourism.

Since it has a very unusual type of offspring, raising the extinction of this species for an extended period could make the wildlife conservationist and scientists problematic.

One of the best ways to conserve and revive extinct species is the establishment of captive breeding programs.

Though initiation and launching of many captive breeding programs targeted Mallorcan midwife toad recently, its distribution and home range to which it belongs have been expanded so far.

Once extinct, it struck back in Mallorca around the 1970s. Among the amphibian species, the Mallorcan midwife toad is the only one to lead the conservation status to a lower category, i.e., from Critically Endangered to the Vulnerable.

The IUCN Red List has categorized this species to the vulnerable stage. It reflects one of the best examples of how the captivity breeding programs and awareness led to reviving the population from extinction over long years and centuries.

3. Elephant shrew

Elephant shrew
Elephant shrew | Image Credit – Imgur
Scientific NameElephantulus revoilii
Extinct/ Nearly Extinct onalmost extinct 52 years ago
Extinction reasonHabitat fragmentation 
Brought back byAfrican Wildlife Foundation 
Status provided by IUCNCritically Endangered

Elephant shrew (Elephantulus revoilii), often known as the jumping shrews, recorded one of the fastest small insectivorous mammals whose speeds reach 28.8 kilometers per hour. It is not friendly to strangers and gives birth three to five times per year.

The elephant shrew was assumed to be extinct almost 52 years ago. Ancestral biogeographical analysis reveals that it has inhabited the Horn of Africa for over 5.4 million years ago.

These species had been distributed throughout Africa, excluding western Africa and the Sahara region.

The tiny creature possesses a mouse-sized and distinctive elongated nose. It was discovered back again in August 2020 by the researcher’s team.

Once it bounced back from extinction presently, the elephant shrew is thriving across the Horn of Africa.

With several conservation activities today, scientists, researchers, and conservationists are reviving the elephant shrew back to its natural habitat.

Habitat fragmentation seems to be the fundamental cause of the extinction of the elephant shrew.

Drought-induced fires and the increment in the anthropogenic-induced intentional wildfires have added threats to their thriving.

Recently, the African Wildlife Foundation has been massively working for its conservation.

4. Rodrigues fruit bat

Rodrigues fruit bat
Rodrigues fruit bat | Image Credit – San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance
Scientific NamePteropus rodricensis
Extinct/ Nearly Extinct on
Extinction reasonForest loss and degradation
Brought back byCaptivity breeding programs
Status provided by IUCNEndangered

Considering the past in the multiple islands of the Indian ocean, Rodrigues fruit bat (Pteropus rodricensis) was very abundant.

Presently, this species is confined only to Rodrigues. Thus the name is inferred as Rodrigues fruit bat.

Often known as the flying fox at once went to extinction. Some key drivers limited the flying fox’s distribution and drove them to extinction.

Because of the massive deforestation, Rodrigues fruit bats faced many threats by the rainforest fragmentation, causing food scarcity and the roosting area.

Since the bat relies on the fruit for survival, forest deforestation could undoubtedly create a loss in fruits and other food resources. Thus, the species reached the extinction phase in the past.

It’s very substantial to conserve the bat species since they possess a significant role in pollination and seed dispersal.

Relying upon the fruits and the flowers acts as a pollinator and a good seed dispersal, which assists in the forest regeneration process.

Considering its ecological importance and ensuring the right of this species for survival, multiple captive breeding programmers have been initiated in 46 zoos globally.

The population of Rodrigues fruit bat is increasing upon reduction of the anthropogenic induced interventions and the successful conservation efforts such as its habitat conservation, awareness programs, and watershed conservation.

Still, this species is under threat since it faces limited geographical ranges. Keeping this point of view, IUCN has enlisted it as one of the endangered species.

5. Southern White Rhinoceros

Southern White Rhinoceros
Southern White Rhinoceros | Image Credit – Flickr
Scientific NameCeratotherium simum simum
Extinct/ Nearly Extinct onThe Extinct onset of the 20th century 
Extinction reasonhabitat loss and fragmentation, and poaching
Brought back byBreeding programs and animals’ population management
Status provided by IUCNNear Threatened

Concerning the white rhino, there are two subspecies. One subspecies is the southern white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum simum). At the onset of the 20th century, it had almost reached the extinction phase.

The massive contributor to the extinction of the southern white rhinoceros goes to habitat loss and fragmentation of the rhinoceros and poaching.

The rhino’s population was declining in such a way that the scientists were worried and thought it had been going under extinction.

The sudden striking of the 20 individuals confined only in a single African nature reserve in 1895 created a little hope that this species still exists in the natural surroundings.

With the launching of several conservation efforts targeting the southern white rhinoceros, presently 19,000-21000 rhinos are existing all around the globe, principally in South African countries.

Among reviving back, the wildlife from the extinction phase, the southern white rhinoceros, leads the best example.

Although some of their presence is in the wild, most of this species could be visualized in the private gaming reserves, zoos, and many more.

Since it has been undergoing multiple threats in the present context, the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List has listed it under Near Threatened.

6. Bermuda Petrel

Bermuda Petrel
Bermuda Petrel scouting above the sea | Image Credit – eBird
Scientific NamePterodroma cahow
Extinct/ Nearly Extinct onExtinct after the 1950s
Extinction reasonsea erosion and hurricane damage
Brought back byBermuda government efforts
Status provided by IUCNEndangered

As inferred by Pterodroma cahow, Bermuda petrel was abundant on Nonsuch Island in 1620.

On the eastern side of Bermuda around the 1950s, spotted a small population of this species with their nest. With time passing, we did not strike it for extended years.

It is the burrowing bird. Because of the posed anthropogenic activities such as destruction of its habitat by the sea erosion and hurricane damage, it was extinct.

After recording that the species has been extinct, the Bermuda government thought for its revival back from the extinction, and it constructed massively many nesting sites for the Bermuda Petrel.

This activity led to the revival of the bird populations. Once the government brought back the bird population from the verge of extinction, its chicks were relocated from that population to Nonsuch Island. It wouldn’t be extinct for an extended period in the coming days.

7. Peregrine falcon

Peregrine falcon
Peregrine falcon | Image Credit – The Verge
Scientific NameFalco peregrinus
Extinct/ Nearly Extinct onExtinct in the mid-20th century
Extinction reasonPesticides
Brought back byReintroduction of the captive breeding chicks
Status provided by IUCNLeast Concern

Peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus) is famous for its speed and acts as a gigantic bird for prey. It holds the top position as the fastest animal all across the globe.

The fascinating fact about the Peregrine falcon is that it is the fastest animal globally since it could make over 390 kilometers per hour.

The crucial habitat distribution of this species entails the coast, desert, and even mountain peaks. Once in the 1970s, it had undergone the endangered category.

The primary reason behind the extinction of this bird species is pesticides. Humans’ synthetic pesticide, commonly known as Dichloro Diphenyl Trichloro Methane (DDT), has created toxicity in the fishes and other birds. 

When these bird species consume their prey, such as the birds and the fishes, they get contaminated by the harmful effects caused by DDT. Besides it, some crucial drivers have contributed to the extinction of Peregrine falcons, such as habitat loss, bird trading, massive hunting, egg collection, and much more.

It had undergone extinction during the mid-20th century. The population was confined to a few hundred only from over 7000 individuals in North America and less than 1000 in Europe from the initial individuals of 8000.

Since the DDT is supposed to thin the animals’ egg calcium, it has reduced the number of eggs to be hatched. Eventually, the declining population of this species occurs at an extensive rate.

With the ban of DDT and the organochlorine pesticides in the United States in the year 1972, the population of Peregrine falcon began to increase.

Several captive breeding programs and the protection of the Peregrine falcon’s nesting have contributed significantly to bringing this species back from this extinction. Recently, IUCN categorized Peregrine falcon as a Least Concern species.

8. Galapagos Giant Tortoise

Galapagos Giant Tortoise
Galapagos Giant Tortoise
Scientific NameChelonoidis niger
Extinct/ Nearly Extinct onNearly Extinct in 20th century
Extinction reasonInvasion by the predators, habitat loss, and overexploitation of the resources
Brought back byCaptive breeding programs
Status provided by IUCNVulnerable

Galapagos Island is a very significant Island in terms of biodiversity richness. This Island harbors Galapagos Giant Tortoise. 

Galapagos Giant Tortoise (Chelonoidis niger) is inferred as the largest living tortoise species whose life span reached 177 years old. The tortoise weight comprises up to 919 pounds.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature enlisted the Galapagos Giant Tortoise under the vulnerable category. 

It has a gradual growth rate, late sexual maturity, and differences between the numerous island species.

This species was once about to reach extinction in the 20th century. More troublingly, the population remained declining from over 250,000 to roughly 3000. Numerous factors influence the distribution of the Galapagos Giant Tortoise.

It entails invasion by the predators, habitat loss, and overexploitation of the resources. Its preservation has been a huge priority by the conservationists and the government since it belongs to one of the largest tortoise species globally.

In the present day, there is the commencement of captive breeding activities that target the reproduction of this species. 

It could conserve the genetic makeup and constituents for the future—the research estimated to revive the number of the Galapagos Giant Tortoises to roughly 15000 from extinction.

9. Sea otter

Sea otter
Sea otter | Image Credit – Animal Spot
Scientific NameEnhydra lutris
Extinct/ Nearly Extinct onExtinct at the end of the 19th century
Extinction reasonFor lush furs
Brought back byreintroduction programs and banning hunting
Status provided by IUCNEndangered

Sea otters, inferred by the biological name as Enhydra lutris, consume the invertebrates, such as sea urchins and clams. IUCN has classified sea otters under the endangered category.

Sea otters possess a million hairs per square inch. In the history of the animal kingdom, it is referred to as the densest animal. 

In the 18th and 19th centuries, it was being hunted massively for its lush furs. Due to this, their numbers declined to roughly 2000 individuals.

Familiar by the name as one of the keystone species, the sea otter has contributed to maintaining the balance of the coastal ecosystems in the northern and eastern sides of the North Pacific Ocean. 

The establishment of the reintroduction programs and banning of this species in hunting launched by the government and the conservationists have brought this species back once again.

Due to the reintroduction and the banning activities, today contribute to almost two-thirds of their populations in their formal natural surroundings.

10. American Bison

Wild American bison
Wild American bison wandering in wild | Image Credit – Travel Channel
Scientific NameBison bison
Extinct/ Nearly Extinct onExtinct on 19th century
Extinction reasonMassive slaughtering and commercial hunting
Brought back byreintroduction campaigns in North America by The Inter-Tribal Bison Council
Status provided by IUCNNear Threatened

American Bison (Bison bison) faced severe extinction in North America. Within the stretch from Alaska to the Gulf of Mexico, the Bison used to roam within its belt. In the past, the native American tribes served the Bison as food.

During the 19th century, the Bison in North America had gone through several threats by anthropogenic-induced interventions, including massive slaughtering and commercial hunting. 

The bison population from over 60 million dropped down to only 541 individuals in 1889 in the late 18th century.

For its conservation, numerous reintroduction campaigns restored the declined bison population in North America. 

The Inter-Tribal Bison Council contributes significantly to reviving the bison species from extinction. A huge thanks to the team for these incredible conservation efforts of Bison.

After conservation efforts from multiple organizations affiliated with wildlife conservation basically in the private land, today, the Bison population holds 3,00,000 in numbers.

Approximately 15,000 bison reside in the unfenced public habitat and the natural surroundings, including America’s national parks. 

Despite the significant contribution of the various agencies in the Bison conservation, it is still facing numerous threats by humans and natural causes to some extent. 

Thus, seeking this situation, IUCN has enlisted Bison under the Near Threatened category.

Concluding Remarks

It’s not voodoo or magic. Our willingness and fighting spirit of species drove them to bounce back from extinction. 

But this might not always work. We need to start caring for every living organism of this era. Fight together to exist together. 

(Last Updated on March 28, 2022 by Sadrish Dabadi)

Kalpana Ghimire holds a post-graduate degree in Environmental Science from Nepal. She possesses numerous research experiences working in water pollution, community forestry, environment conservation status, and wildlife ecology. She was an internee in the Department of Environment (EIA monitoring and auditing section) under the Government of Nepal. Kalpana Ghimire is an avid traveler, an enthusiastic wildlife researcher, and has a huge passion for working in the environment sector. She loves far traveling to the natural areas, conducting field wildlife research and reading the novels.