The golden toad, which is sometimes referred to as the Monteverde toad or the orange toad, was a species that lived only in the Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve in Costa Rica. It was once a common species, but no specimen has been seen since 1989. The toad’s breeding sites were well-known and closely watched — in 1988, only eight males and two females could be found, and in 1989, only a single male could be located. Extensive searches for the golden toad since then have failed to locate another specimen, and the species was declared extinct in August 2007. The amphibian disease chytridiomycosis, airborne pollution and global warming probably contributed to the species' demise.
One of several subspecies of leopard, the Zanzibar leopard made its home on the Zanzibar archipelago of Tanzania. It's still unclear whether this large cat is technically extinct — there are occasional unconfirmed sightings.
Cause of extinction: Locals believed the leopards were kept by witches, and aggressively hunted them. The animals were seen as evil predators that must be exterminated — and even the government was in on the campaign. In the mid-'90s there was a short-lived conservation effort but it was deemed too little, too late
The last documented sighting of China's baiji dolphin, or Yantze River dolphin, was in 2002, and while the species is listed as critically endangered, scientists say it may already be extinct. In 2006, scientists from the Baiji Foundation traveled up the Yangtze River for more than 2,000 miles equipped with optical instruments and underwater microphones, but were unable to detect any surviving dolphins. The foundation published a report on the expedition and declared the animal functionally extinct, meaning too few potential breeding pairs remained to ensure the species' survival.
The decline in the baiji dolphin population is attributed to a variety of factors including overfishing, boat traffic, habitat loss, pollution and poaching. Deemed "the goddess of the river," the dolphin's skin was highly valuable and used to make gloves and handbags.
A native of Maui, Hawaii, the Po'ouli, or Black-faced Honeycreeper, was only discovered in the 1970s. The birds inhabited the southwestern slope of Haleakala volcano. But the population declined rapidly, and by 1997 there were only three known Po'ouli left. Efforts to mate the remaining birds failed and the species was formally declared extinct seven years later.
Cause of extinction: Habitat loss, along with disease, predators and a decline in its food source — native tree snails — are all seen as reasons for the bird's demise
Madeiran Large White
The stunning Madeiran Large White butterfly was found in the valleys of the Laurisilva forests on Portugal’s Madeira Islands. The butterfly's closest relative, the Large White, is common across Europe, Africa and Asia.
Cause of extinction: Loss of habitat due to construction as well as pollution from agricultural fertilizers are two major causes of the species' decline.
The Tecopa pupfish, a native of the hot springs of the Mojave Desert, has the distinction of being the first animal declared extinct under the provisions of the Endangered Species Act of 1973. The pupfish's decline was precipitated when its natural habitat was encroached upon by developers.
Cause of extinction: Destruction of natural habitat.
Commonly known as the Tasmanian Tiger, the Thylacine was the largest known carnivorous marsupial of modern times. Virtually wiped out in the wild due to constant hunting (they were thought to be a threat to sheep and other small farm animals) and the encroachment of humans on their already limited habitat the Thylacine was finally recognized as being in danger of becoming extinct in 1936, too little, too late as that same year the last Thylacine, named Benjamin, died on 7 September as the result of neglect — locked out of its sheltered sleeping quarters and exposed to freezing temperatures at night in Hobart Zoo, Tasmania. 60 years on there are still claims of sightings but all are yet to be confirmed.