Animal Species That Came Back From Extinction

By Sonakshi Kandhari

May 18, 2023

Nature and its surreal ways continue to fascinate mankind. There has been no shortage of these wonders even in the animal Kingdom. While researchers believed many animals went into extinction, there were many others that were revived from extinction. On National Endangered Species Day, let’s learn about the animals we would otherwise never know.

Image: Wikipedia Images

The world’s largest living tortoise weighs 919 pounds. This tortoise grows up to the ripe old age of 177 years old. Their population underwent a steep decline from 25,000 to 3,000 because of habitat loss and over exploitation. Nature preservers took the necessary protocols and revived the population up to 15,000. It still falls under the category of vulnerable animals.


An endemic of North America, it is the world’s largest vulture. But unfortunately, in the 20th century, this bird’s numbers took a hit. There were barely 27 birds left. The US government established its most expensive conservation projects, and as of now, there are 518 living ones.


It is the world’s fastest animal and can fly at a speed of 242 kilometres/hour. This bird can adapt to any environment. Pesticides were the cause of the decline in their numbers; they are thinning the calcium in their eggs. Once this problem was identified, the situation reversed, and there are now 1,40,000 birds.


This bright flightless bird used to roam in what is now called New Zealand. It was declared extinct in 1898 due to hunting and habitat loss. However, 50 years after its supposed extinction, a colony of takahes was discovered in the Murchison Mountains in southern New Zealand.


With the body of a mouse and a long elephant-like nose, the name befits this little creature. Scientists lost track of the mammal in the 1970s, believing it to be extinct. But in 2019, a scientific expedition to the Horn of Africa spotted 12 Somali elephant shrews.

Somali Elephant Shrew

Not sighted since 1955, the crab was believed to be extinct. But in 2021, a researcher named Pierre Mvogo Ndongo travelled to Sierra Leone to search for the crab. After three weeks, he found six of them with the help of the local people. The crabs had migrated inland away from water and adapted to breathe air.

Sierra Leone Crab

This wide-eyed little primate is a sensitive nocturnal creature that struggles to survive in captivity. Considered extinct by the 1920s, it was rediscovered by Indonesian scientists in 2000 when one ended up dead in a rat trap. But they found the first living ones in 2008.

Pygmy Tarsier

This beautiful little bird with a distinctive black eyestripe was observed by scientists once in the 1840s, and then it disappeared for around 170 years. Two locals rediscovered it in 2020 after reported sightings in the forest of South Kalimantan in Indonesia.

Black-Browed Babbler

This tiny chameleon measures around 6.2 cm only. It was spotted first in the Malawi rain forest in 1992 before disappearing rapidly. In the following decades, nearly 80% of the Malawi rainforest was destroyed, with the chameleon presumably lost. However, the persistent lizard was spotted again in 2016.

Chapman’s Pygmy Chameleon

The species of giant tortoise disappeared centuries ago and was believed to be extinct. But in 2019, researchers came across a single female tortoise after 112 years. She was found living on Fernandina Island in the Galápagos and is the only living example of her kind known to researchers.

Fernandina Giant Tortoise