1. Red-Crested Tree Rat
Thought to be extinct for more than a century, one just moseyed up to a pair of biologists in May 2011. What luck!
2. Northern White Rhinoceros
These magnificent beasts have been completely wiped out in the wild by poachers; only 7 remain in captivity.
3. Rabbs’ Fringe-Limbed Treefrog
This fella—residing at the Atlanta Botanical Garden in Georgia—is literally the last of its kind.
The species is most likely a victim of the chytrid fungus, an infectious disease that’s been responsible for the decline of amphibians everywhere.
4. Yangtze Giant Softshell Turtle
This Yangtze River native fell prey to widespread pollution, development, and hunting.
The largest freshwater turtles are reduced to a mere 4 in the world.
No, they aren’t mogwai, but they were thought to be extinct in the early 20th century—until Indonesian scientists accidentally killed one while trapping rats. Oops!
A research expedition has rediscovered the species in 2008, but no others have been found since.
6. Pinta Island Tortoise
‘Lonesome George’ was thought to be the last known surviving Pinta Island tortoise.
It turns out there may be others.
Scientists have discovered genetic evidence of first-generation tortoise hybrids on Isabella Island, which suggests there is at least one full-blooded Pinta Island tortoise left in existence.
7. Hula Painted Frog
A routine patrol around the Hula nature reserve turned out to be fate: a discovered specimen proved that these frogs didn’t go extinct after all!
It’s too early to celebrate, however, as the frogs’ population is still very small even with ongoing conservation efforts.
8. Baiji Dolphin
Another Yangtze River native, the Baiji dolphins received the dubious honor of being the first cetacean species to be declared functionally extinct in 2006.
A dolphin was sighted a year later by a Chinese man, which experts did later confirm as a Baiji. It’s impossible to determine how many of them remain.