List of extinct animals of the British Isles

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This is a list of extinct animals of the British Isles. Only a small number of these are globally extinct, most famously the Irish elk, great auk and woolly mammoth. Most of the remainder survive to some extent outside the islands. The list includes introduced species only in cases where they were able to form self-sustaining colonies for a time. Only species extinct since Great Britain was separated from mainland Europe are included. The date beside each species is the last date when a specimen was observed in the wild or, where this is not known, the approximate date of extinction. The list is complete for mammals, reptiles, freshwater fish and amphibians.








Bees, wasps and ants[edit]


Butterflies and moths[edit]

General reference: Waring et al., 2009.[7]

Dragonflies and damselflies[edit]




Land snails[edit]

† – Species is extinct worldwide

Reintroduction and re-establishment[edit]

The white-tailed eagle has been successfully re-established on the west coast of Scotland.[12] Having clung on in parts of Wales[13], red kites have been successfully re-established in parts of England and Scotland.[14] Ongoing projects involve both these species: the corncrake into parts of England and Scotland, and the great bustard on Salisbury Plain.

European beavers have been reintroduced to parts of Scotland, and there are plans to bring them back to other parts of Britain. A five-year trial reintroduction at Knapdale in Argyll started in 2009 and concluded in 2014.[15] A few hundred beavers live wild in the Tay river basin, as a result of escapes from a wildlife park.[16] A similar reintroduction trial is being undertaken on the river otter in Devon, England.[17] In 2016, beavers were recognised as a British native species, and will be protected under law.[18]

In 2008, moose were released into a fenced reserve on the Alladale Estate in the Highlands of Scotland. Reindeer were re-established in 1952; approximately 150–170 reindeer live around the Cairngorms region in Scotland.

In 1998, MAFF, now known as DEFRA released a report concerning the presence of two populations of wild boar living freely in the UK[19]. These boar are thought to have escaped from wildlife parks, zoos and from farms where they are farmed for their meat, and gone on to establish breeding populations[20][21].

The northern clade pool frog was reintroduced from Swedish stock in 2005, to a single site in Norfolk, England, following detailed research to prove that it had been native prior to its extinction around 1993.

The large blue butterfly has been successfully re-established from Swedish stock at a number of sites, but few of these are open-access. There are also several successful cases of the establishment of new populations of heath fritillary.

There have been calls for the reintroduction of the Eurasian lynx, brown bear and grey wolf to the UK.[22]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Yalden, Derek (1999), History of British Mammals, London: T. & A.D. Poyser Ltd., ISBN 0-85661-110-7 
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ "The lost beasts that roamed Britain during the ice age". BBC. July 22, 2015. Retrieved 29 August 2017. 
  5. ^ Bill Teale (2016-09-17). "Birdwatch: Rare appearance from Kentish plover". Yorkshire Post. Retrieved 26 May 2017. 
  6. ^ a b c Bumblebee superfacts, BugLife, retrieved January 23, 2013 
  7. ^ Waring, P.; et al. (2009), Field Guide to the Moths of Great Britain and Ireland, Hook, Hampshire: British Wildlife Publishing, ISBN 0953139999 ; UK Moths, Ian Kimber, retrieved January 23, 2013  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  8. ^ Tilbury, Christine (March 2007), Gypsy Moth Advisory Note (PDF), Forest Research: Tree Health Division, retrieved 6 February 2014 
  9. ^ "Viper's Bugloss Hadena irregularis – UK Moths", UK Moths, Ian Kimber, retrieved January 23, 2013 
  10. ^ Gilbert Van Stappen (1996), "Artemia", in Patrick Lavens & Patrick Sorgeloos, Manual on the Production and Use of Live Food for Aquaculture, FAO Fisheries Technical Paper, 361, Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization, pp. 79–106, ISBN 978-92-5-103934-2 
  11. ^ Geoffrey Fryer (2006), "The brine shrimp's tale: a topsy turvy evolutionary fable" (PDF), Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 88 (3): 377–382, doi:10.1111/j.1095-8312.2006.00623.x 
  12. ^ George Monbiot. "15 species that should be brought back to rewild Britain". the Guardian. Retrieved 20 December 2015. 
  13. ^ "RSPB: Redkite Conservation". 
  14. ^ "The RSPB: Red kite". The RSPB. Retrieved 20 December 2015. 
  15. ^ "Commissioned Report No. 685 The Scottish Beaver Trial: Ecological monitoring of the European beaver Castor fiber and other riparian mammals 2009-2014, final report" (PDF). Retrieved 18 December 2016. 
  16. ^ "Tay Beavers Origin". Scottish Wild Beavers. Retrieved 20 December 2015. 
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^ "Feral wild boar in England Status, impact and management A report on behalf of Defra European Wildlife Division" (PDF). National Archives. Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Archived from the original on 1 January 2007. Retrieved 26 October 2017. 
  20. ^ "Feral wild boar in England Status, impact and management A report on behalf of Defra European Wildlife Division" (PDF). Archived from the original on 1 January 2007. Retrieved 26 October 2017. 
  21. ^ "Wild Boar". The British Association for Shooting and Conservation. BASC. Retrieved 26 October 2017. 
  22. ^ "Call for lynx and wolf reintroduction". BBC News. 15 July 2015. Retrieved 20 December 2015. 

Further reading[edit]