Five animals (presumed to be extinct) that resurfaced this year
While extinction of animal species is a completely natural phenomenon, scientists estimate that they are today being lost at up to as much as 1,000 times the standard rate of extinction, with dozens of species disappearing every single day. However, there were some species, earlier thought to have gone extinct, that were rediscovered by the scientists in 2019. Take a look.
The "Starry Night" harlequin toad, which had been lost to scientists since 1991, was documented in Colombia in April this year. Although biologists had expected to find one individual toad, they eventually found a population of about 30 toads. Characterized by black and white spots on its body, the toad is considered a guardian of water and symbols of fertility by the Arhuaco people.
One female adult Chelonoidis phantasticus was found on Fernandina Island in the Galapagos in February this year. The tortoise was the first of its species to be seen in 112 years. The tortoise, believed to be over 100 years old, was then taken to a breeding center on the Santa Cruz Island. The only other living member of the species was found in 1906.
The Tasmanian tiger, characterized by its yellowish, brown fur, stripes along its back, and a face resembling that of a fox, was presumed to be extinct after the last captive animal died in 1936 at the Hobart Zoo in Tasmania. However, regular sightings of the animal have been documented since September 2016, and the number of sightings increased considerably in 2018 and 2019.
The Rio Apaporis caiman, a subspecies of the Spectacled caiman, was rediscovered this year. It had been lost to scientists since 1952. While the biologists never confirmed the subspecies to be extinct, the turbulent political climate in Colombia kept them from accessing its habitat to conclude if they were still there or not. The subspecies is not featured on the IUCN Red List.
The Global Wildlife Conservation announced in November that the silver-backed chevrotain was photographed in Southern Vietnam, over 25 years after it was last recorded. The species is characterized by its deer-like appearance and a size equal to a rabbit's.