The Process of Declaring Animals Extinct is Ridiculous

The last known thylacine died on Sep. 7, 1936, yet there have been many reported sightings of the elusive creature since.

E.J. Keller

The last known thylacine died on Sep. 7, 1936, yet there have been many reported sightings of the elusive creature since.

Reanna Arndt, Copy Editor

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Extinct or Alive is a TV show that just started this summer. It is about a scientist, Forrest Galante, searching for extinct animals, and discovering some. This has brought forth the question Are extinct animals really gone? Scientists estimate that approximately 150-200 different species of animals go extinct every year. Since 1948, the World Conservation Union would only declare a species extinct if it had not been seen in 50 years. After realizing how vague their requirements were, they changed it. Now, an animal is declared extinct if “there is no reasonable doubt that the last individual has died.” This is a ridiculous way to determine if a species of animal is still around.

According to National Geographic and Animal Planet, extinct animals are found alive each year. For example, the New Guinea Singing Dog, also known as the New Guinea highland dog, was thought to be extinct until 2016. These dogs are among the most primitive species and can now be found in many zoos and some living rooms. Another species that was not really extinct is the coelacanth, a type of fish that went extinct over 60 million years ago. This fish was discovered by a group of scientists. The coelacanth is now considered a rare, instead of extinct, species of fish.

With the current process in play, some species of animals are more likely to be declared extinct when they really are not. For example, a grazing animal in a field is much easier to notice than a fish living at the bottom of the sea or a bird living in the middle of the jungle. The Thylacine is a type of marsupial wolf found in Australia that went extinct in 1936 after the last captive one died. There are many convincing videos and pictures of this elusive animal floating around the internet, yet since there is no “solid” proof, the Thylacine is still considered an extinct animal.

Many argue that animals need to be declared extinct, and some do. For example, dinosaurs are obviously gone and need to be called extinct, but no one can be completely sure if recently “extinct” animals are really gone.

Instead of focusing on animals being extinct and making headline stories when they “come back from the dead”, people should focus on preserving the endangered species of animals around the world.