No, not personally,
(and here comes the heartbreaking qualifier)
No, not personally,
Not in the wild, but I was able to see Lonesome George, last of the Pinta Island Giant Tortoises, two years before he passed. Unfortunately, my group quickly left me behind at his exhibit, so I wasn’t able to spend as much time as I would have liked.
This. So much this. I always wonder about all the little critters I used to see while gardening and just being outside as a kid and if those species are still around. I took no photos and couldn’t tell you what they were so I’ll never know. But I wonder.
In the northeastern US, there are quite a few American chestnut resprouts, because the chestnut blight doesn’t really damage the root systems
And I see how strict the auto-obscure is! I doubt that someone knowing where these two birds were 44 years ago will put them in danger of poaching.
As with others, I have not personally seen a species that later went extinct, but I did work in a conservation lab with Atelopus zeteki. These toads are now almost certainly extinct in the wild due to chytridiomycosis. I feel lucky that I had the opportunity to be in the presence of this species. There is an effort to increase diversity and population within captivity but little hope for reintroduction.
Another amphibian that was almost killed by the chytridiomycosis:
Perhaps If I’d been born a few years earlier, I would have seen the “Jambato Harlequin Frog” (Atelopus ignescens) in its heyday. According to my parents and grandparents, it was very abundant in the area where I live (Ecuadorian Andes). It was considered extinct for almost 30 years until in 2016 a population was rediscovered near here.
A couple of observations have been uploaded to iNat before its almost extinction: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?taxon_id=21708
Now, many efforts are being made to conserve this last population: https://www.amphibians.org/news/harlequin-toad-ecuador-project/
I’ve found lots of bones of small mammals that have gone locally extinct, and totally extinct, since the European invasion of Australia. And of 16 photopoint sites I manage, 3 have remains of sticknest rat nest material within 20 meters. I’m always gobsmacked at how stuff that was really common was wiped out so quickly.
The discussion in the comments reflects the strangeness of the status of the putatively extinct species, Coregonus nigripinnis. The fish in this photo were caught during a survey by the organization I work for.
Yes, I have. Jer Thorpe’s first podcast in his “Once Upon a Checklist”, at
[should run from there or it is free on signing up]
is about my 29 August 1978 checklist of birds from Guam that includes one bird extinct in the wild, and another that is sadly now totally extinct. I interviewed for the story but Jer did an excellent story of pulling all the threads together. Thanks, Don Roberson
I saw the last surviving Texas Henslow’s Sparrows of the race A. h. hustonensis before the railroad destroyed the habitat of the only place they were known to occur. Also saw the last surviving Lappet-faced Vulture T. t. negevensis the year before they were thought to be extinct in Israel. However there have been some recent sightings and I believe the race survives in remote areas in Saudi Arabia.
Our green lizard and green “rain frogs” here in Florida are heading that way, I’m afraid. The Cuban frog and Cuban lizard, sorry I don’t know scientific names, are eating them all. If there is something I’d love to see it’s the Ivory Billed Woodpecker.