In the past 2000 years over one hundred species of birds have become
extinct. Since 1500 170 mammals have disappeared from the earth.
Unfortunately for your situation, most of those did not occur in
Europe. As opposed to the large northern land masses, the islands of
the world and tropics have suffered the greatest loss of species in
the past 2000 years.
I used a variety of search techniques and databases to find the answer
to your question, and I'm afraid that your parameter of 10-20 species
was a bit optimistic. The best I could do was 8 European creatures
5 mammals and 3 birds and three of those were from European islands.
I also found one that hasn't been confirmed extinct, but seems likely.
The Barbary Lion -- Native to Northern Africa and Liberia, these
lions were used in ancient Roman arenas. The last Barbary Lion in
Liberia was killed around 1700. A hunter killed the last Barbary Lion
in the wild in Morocco in 1920.
The Pyrenean ibex, Capra pyrenaica pyrenaica, was a subspecies of the
Spanish ibex, itself a close relative of the well-known ibex of the
Alps. Small populations of the Spanish ibex still live in the
mountains of central and southern Spain. The Pyrenean goats were
larger. The very last one was killed by a tree in 2000.
THE GREAT AUK
The Great Auk was the last flightless seabird of the Northern
Hemisphere. Great Auks bred on islands off the coast of Scotland,
Iceland, and possibly Greenland and Norway. Ultimate extinction was
caused by the collection of specimens for museums and private
collectors; on Eldey Island, Iceland, in 1844, the last 2 confirmed
adults were killed for European collectors.
The European wild horse or tarpan (Equus caballus) once ranged the
forests and steppes of Eastern Europe. This primitive horse was
hunted to extinction for food. The last recorded animal died in the
Ukraine in 1876.
Waldrapps [Bald, Hermit Ibis] (Corvus silvaticus)
Ibis-like deciduous forest bird - migratory between Europe and North
Last one killed in Germany in 1627; only 27 in Turkey in 1977; extinct
The single species that apparently lived in historical time, P.
sardus, is known from subfossil remains found on Corsica, Sardinia,
and adjacent small islands. Skeletal remains indicate that Prolagus
was still present on Corsica and Sardinia within the last 2,000 years.
The final report that may apply to a living population was made in
The single species, T. henseli, formerly occurred on Corsica and
Sardinia Extinction occurred about 2,000 years ago and may be
associated with ecological changes wrought by modern people and their
Hensel's Field Mouse
The single species, R. orthodon, formerly occurred on Corsica and
Sardinia. The ecological disturbances and predation that resulted from
this invasion led to the extinction of Rhagamys about 2,000 years ago.
HIMALAYAN MOUNTAIN QUAIL Ophrysia superciliosa
known from only nine specimens, shot within 40 years after 1836 at
only two places, Mussoorie and Nainital, in the Lesser Himalayas.
Based on these data, we believe that there are no chances to find
Mountain Quails in the areas where they were collected between 1836
and 1876. But we think it is worth trying to look for Mountain Quails
in the Lower Himalaya north of the ridge Mussoorie - Nainital."
THE COMMITTEE FOR RECENTLY EXTINCT ORGANISMS
The above American Museum of Natural History Extinct Organism database
(downloadable in Excel format) contains all 170 mammals that have
become extinct worldwide since 1500. It's a bit difficult to maneuver
in, but I scrolled down the FORMER DISTRIBUTION Column Q and selected
those animals that had European distribution. Then I scrolled across
to the 1st column [CREO STATUS.] Everything with Status: Resolved
means verified extinct since 1500.
The two animals below are extinct and formerly from Europe but it
cannot be confirmed that they became extinct after 1500, so they may
or may not fall within your parameters. I was unable to find further
information about either of these animals.
EXTINCT BIRDS OF THE WORLD
MAMMALS OF EUROPE
THE COMMITTEE FOR RECENTLY EXTINCT ORGANISMS
RECENTLY EXTINCT MAMMALS
RECENTLY EXTINCT BIRDS
I hope this list fulfills whatever need you had. For your sake, I'm
sorry there weren't more
but I guess in a sense we should be
Please let me know if anything isn't clear or if any of the links
don't work. I'll be happy to clarify for you.
Oh, and by the way .. those bells you hear ringing? That's because you
are my 200th customer. Since I like to focus on animal-related
questions which are rather few and far between I'm glad to have
landed yours. Thanks for a great (and well-timed) question!
extinct mammals Europe
extinct birds Europe
extinct mammal list
extinct bird list