The extinction of animals in Canada may be due to some reasons varying from over hunting to predation from invasive species. Over 4,500 wild species are at some risk of extinction in Canada, according to the most extensive survey of the country’s biodiversity ever undertaken. However, the loss of species is global, it’s happening in Canada as well as in other countries. This article has compiled list of different extinct animals in Canada.
There is a remarkable responsibility for Canada to safeguard or recover those extincts animals in Canada, if not the alternative is global extinction. Furthermore, we must take on the duty to ensure those species are here for future generations. According to a 2019 United Nations report, which said there is still time to turn things around if countries act fast.
Moreover, over a million plant and animal species around the world are facing extinction due to human actions. Ontario, British Columbia, and Quebec had the highest number of researched species. While Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick were the most species-rich provinces according to their area.
Interestingly, there are lots of potentially unknown species in Canada, that could be unique to science or not registered yet. In this article, we’ll discuss some of the extinct animals in Canada. Read on!
List of Extinct Animals in Canada
1. Sea mink (Neogale macrodon)
The Sea mink is a newly extinct species of mink that lived on the eastern coast of North America around the Gulf of Maine on the New England seaboard. However, experimenters believe that the last sea mink was butchered at Campobello Island, New Brunswick, around 1894. Furthermore, the sea mink was about two times the size of its cousin, the American mink (Mustela vison).
The sea mink was an aquatic mammal that lived around the southwestern coast of Nova Scotia until it was hunted to extinction in the early 20th century. Furthermore, it was closely related to the American mink (Mustela vison), with persisting debate concerning whether or not the sea mink should be assumed a subspecies of the American mink or a species of its own.
2. Blue Pike (Sander vitreous glaucus)
The blue walleye, also called the blue pike, was a unique color morph of walleye that was endemic to the Great Lakes of North America. Morphometric studies led scientists to categorize the blue walleye as a separate species in 1926, although it was later degraded to a subspecies. Although they looked like walleye in most regards but were smaller.
Some basic characteristics of this fish include a grayish-blue body and silvery to milk-white belly without brassy or yellow mottling or overcast. Moreover, the pelvic fins are transparent in small young but silvery-blue in larger fish. They also have different dusky spots on the webbing between the last three dorsal spines.
3. Great auk (Pinguinus impennis)
The great auk (Pinguinus impennis) was a gigantic flightless bird aboriginal to the North Atlantic that became extinct in 1844. It was the only contemporary species in the genus Pinguinus. Even with their external resemblances, great auks like these were not close to the penguins.
However, this bird was the largest member of the Alcidae family, which includes murres and puffins, among other birds. It is bred on rocky, isolated islands with effortless access to the ocean and an abundant food supply. In addition, the great auks were highly valuable for their meat, eggs, oil, fat, and feathers and sold as commercial goods. They were found along the shores of Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland.
4. Labrador duck (Camptorhynchus labradorius)
The Labrador duck was a small marine bird that usually nest on islands off the shore of Labrador. However, the bird was a good diver and swimmer with a flat and square bill that enabled it to dig up small fishes and shells, on which it lived. Its extinction was perhaps the result of a reduction in mussels and other shellfish due to pollution.
Scientists however understand that the last Labrador duck was seen at Elmira, New York, in 1878. The Labrador duck is an extinct North American duck that lived along the east coast of North America, from Canada to the Chesapeake. It has the distinction of being the first known endemic North American bird species to become extinct after the Columbian Exchange.
Some characteristics of the Labrador duck
- They possess long bills for digging up their prey.
- Usually brown but sometimes white/dark on the head.
- They had a short, but thick neck, to possibly help them to swallow their prey.
- Their feet are short, relatively like a frog.
- They had a brownish-black tail.
5. Deepwater cisco (Coregonus johannae)
In Canada, the deepwater cisco was one of the largest ciscoes in the Great Lakes with an average length of 30 cm. Although, this species was last caught in 1951 and it went extinct in 1952. Scientists believed that the species disappeared due to retail fishing and predation by the sea lamprey.
In addition, some characteristics of the deepwater cisco include the following. It has a long mouth and the pre-dorsal length is much higher than the post-dorsal length. The deepwater cisco has between 27 and 33 gill rakers on the anterior arch.
6. Lake Ontario kiyi (Coregonus kiyi orientalis)
Just like its name, the Lake Ontario kiyi was native to Lake Ontario and last documented in 1964. The subspecies went extinct due to over fishing and predation by introduced fish species. However, the Kiyi is very comparable in appearance to the Cisco but differs from other Ciscoes by having long pelvic fins, large eyes, and a cross-section elliptic body shape.
7. Eelgrass limpet (Lottia alveus)
Limpets are snail-like animals with cone-shaped shells. It was a subspecies of eelgrass limpet in the North Atlantic Ocean. Furthermore, it fed solely off eelgrass, an aquatic flowering plant.
The last known samples were seen in 1929 and the limpet became extinct. In addition, one of the physical features of the eelgrass limpet is the relatively thin brown shell on the outside. Also has countless internal dark markings in a checkerboard design that are visible from the inside.
8. Passenger pigeon (Ectopistes migratorius)
The Passenger Pigeon was once the most familiar bird in North America and eventually still managed to become extinct due to over hunting and the clearing of the land. Interestingly, its common name emanated from the French word passager, meaning “passing by”, due to the migrating habits of the species. The last enormous flocks in southwestern Ontario was in the 1880s.
However, in 1914, the last known passenger pigeon, a female named Martha, died at the Cincinnati Zoo. She was around 29 years old, with a palsy that caused her to shake. Even though, she has never for once in her life laid a fertile egg. It’s been over 100 years since the bird was out of existence due to hunting.
9. Steller’s sea cows (Hydrodamalis gigas)
Steller’s sea cows were wiped out by hunters in the 18th century less than 30 years after they were first located by Arctic adventurers. Today, the term sea cow is occasionally used to refer to other sirenians, namely the manatee and the dugong. They however feed on canopy kelp that grew close to the surface of the water thereby deriving their nutrients from plant matter.
The exceptionally large size of Steller’s sea cow served as an adaptation for survival in cool waters. Furthermore, this sea cow was used to provide Russian seal hunters with special meat on long sea journeys, and killing was usually extravagant. However, the extinction of Steller’s sea cow is a surprising example of the susceptibility of small remote animal populations.
Over hunting during the fur trade led to the extinction of some animals like the sea mink (Neogale macrodon) and the great auks (Pinguinus impennis). But, that was not the case for the Labrador duck as it tasted horrible and would rot quickly. pollution activity is the greatest factor directly causing the extinction of several animal species in Canada.
The last Steller’s sea cow (Hydrodamalis gigas) population on the Commander Islands was wiped out in the second half of the 18th century. This was due to sailors and fur traders hunting it for meat and fat. No preserved specimens exist today, but the sea cow was certainly the largest sirenian. Kindly drop your question or review on the list of extinct animals in Canada.