A Journey to the Land of lost animals

Kazi Falguni Eshita

We are familiar with quite a number of animals living around us. There are also some animals that are either completely extinct or about to be lost. Today I tried to take a glimpse into the lives of those lost animals. First I tried to look into the lives of animals that were once found in abundance in Bangladesh. I have also talked about animals across the globe.

Sumatran Rhinoceros
They had a weight of about 1000 kilograms. It had two horns; the horn on the nose was larger. They had a lifespan of about 30 to 45 years. They once lived in the rainforests and cloud forests of Myanmar, India and Bangladesh. They liked to live alone except for mating and child rearing. They were herbivorous, lived on leaves, fruits and twigs.

Pink Headed Duck
It was a large diving duck once found in India, Bangladesh and Myanmar. It was declared extinct in the 1950’s. It was about 41 to 43 centimeter long with a long bill, long neck and a pink head. The male was darker than the female. It used to breed in tall grass jungles. It laid spherical, creamy white eggs, about 6 to 7 in a clutch. The reason of their extinction is habitat destruction.

Painted Stork
A large wading bird in the stork family, found in the wetlands of the plains of Tropical Asia. It has a heavy yellow bill and an orange or reddish head. They feed in groups in shallow wetlands. They nest in trees. Breeding season begins in mid August and continues till February.

Asian small clawed Otter
It is the smallest Otter species in the world. It lived in the mangrove swamps and freshwater wetlands of Bangladesh. It lived on small non vertebrate creatures, crabs and other water animals. Very active in the remote areas free of human disturbance, they are seriously threatened by hunting and rapid habitat destruction.

Dhole
The Asiatic wild dog was once found in all the areas of Bangladesh. Their ears were large and round and also filled with white hair. It was also called the whistling hunter. They had reddish fur, and were carnivorous.

Asiatic Black Bear
It has a white crescent marking on its chest. It has large rounded ears. They live in hilly areas and eat nuts, buds and insects. They also eat leftover prey killed by tigers which builds in fat before winter. They live alone, except for mother and child. Females give birth to two cubs after about seven to eight months of pregnancy. It used to be found in Bangladesh in large numbers, but now it is marked endangered and is found in Pakistan and Iran only.

Asian Elephant
It is also known as the Indian elephant and has body and ears smaller than the African elephant. They have flat foreheads and curved backs. Only some of the males have tusks, females never have them. They eat mostly plants, also grass, twigs, barks and leaves. It needs large forest area as habitat and a permanent water supply.
Bengal Florican
Bengal Floricans are 66 to 68 cm long. The male has black feathers from head and neck. The female is larger than the male and is brownish. It has two types, one in the Indian subcontinent, and another in South East Asia. They use grasslands near the lake to breed. They live in open tall grassland habitats with bushes. They are critically threatened, because land is needed for agriculture, especially for rice production.

Bengal Slow Loris
It is the largest species of slow loris. It has large, bulging eyes and heavy, wooly fur. It is a good climber, a nocturnal mammal. This used to be found in large numbers in Bangladesh, but now it is a vulnerable species. It is a seed dispenser and pollinator. It is already locally extinct in some places, because of being used as a pet. It is one of the most common animals sold in local animal markets.

Black Soft shell Turtle
This was once found in large numbers in the Bramhaputra River, but now it only lives in the Bayazid Baustami mazar in Chittagong. For this reason, it is also called the “Mazari” turtle.

Sri Lanka Lion or Ceylon Lion
Prehistoric subspecies of lion extinct at 37000 years BC. This lion is only known from two teeth found in deposits of Kuruwita, a town 120 km from Colombo.

Steppe Bison
Was a bison found on steppes throughout Europe, Central Asia, Beringia and North America. People believed that it evolved somewhere in South Asia at the same time and region as the Aurorchs. It became extinct almost 11700 years ago.

Wooly Rhinoceros
It is an extinct species of rhinoceros that was common throughout Europe and Asia. The external appearance of these animals is known from mummified individuals from Siberia as well as cave paintings. An adult was 3 to 3.8 meters long and 2 to 3 tons heavy. It would grow up to be 2 meters tall. Two horns on the skull were made of Keratin, a fibrous protein. It also had a smaller horn between its eyes. It had thick, long fur, small ears, short thick legs and a large body.

Aurochs
It was the ancestor of modern cattle. It was large wild cattle which resided in Europe Asia and North Africa. It survived in Europe till 1647. The bulls were taller than the cows. They had wide, pointed horns, small legs and a thick coat. They were herbivorous animals. They lived in the hot and dry areas of India about two million years ago.

Javan Tiger
They lived in the Indonesian island called Java till the mid 1970’s. They were very small compared to the other Asian tigers. They lived on Rusa deer, Banteng and wild boar and occasionally on reptiles.

Bonin wood pigeon
They were extinct in Spring 1889, and had a average length of 45 cm. The upper part of its body was grayish black; crown was green-purple, a greenish yellow bill and red legs. They were last seen in Japan.

Cave hyena
An extinct species of spotted hyena. It is only known from prehistoric cave paintings. The main difference between the spotted hyena and cave hyena is the difference of the lengths of the limbs. They mainly fed on a type of horses and reindeer.
The Great Auk
A bird similar to the penguin which became extinct in the mid 19th century. Despite being flightless, it was a very good swimmer. It lived mostly on fish. Its main enemies were white tailed eagles, polar bears and humans. They nested in highly populated areas, mated for life.

Labrador Duck
It was a black and white sea duck which became extinct in North America in 1500. It had a flat beak and lived on marine sea animals. The reason of its extinction is still unexplained. Though hunted for food, it still tasted bad.

Eastern Hare Wallaby
An extinct marsupial that lived in the New South Wales Victoria, and the Murray River region of South Australia. It could have become extinct for extensive agriculture and the red fox.

Like these, there are many other animals including the Royal Bengal Tiger, which are almost lost from the jungles. These animals are needed to keep the natural balance of the wild. We should try our level best to save as many animals as we can and make the world a better place to live in.

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