List of extinct animals of the Netherlands
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This list of extinct animals of the Netherlands includes the animal species and subspecies once lived in the Netherlands but have disappeared since human habitation. This list features the mammals, birds, fish, molluscs, butterflies, dragonflies, bees, pond damselflies, mayflies, grasshoppers and Crickets that have disappeared from the Netherlands. There have been no known extinctions of reptiles or amphibians in the Netherlands.
Most animals on this list of extinct animals in the Netherlands survive in other places in the world. However, some of them are now globally extinct, like the great auk (Pinguinus impennis), the European wild horse (Equus ferus) and the aurochs (Bos primigenius primigenius). One skeleton of the great auk was excavated in a Roman settlement near Velsen. Bones were also found near Rotterdam. In the Netherlands there are no bone finds of the aurochs after the Roman period (400 AD). Phengaris alcon arenaria, an endemic Dutch subspecies of the Alcon blue butterfly became extinct at the end of the 1970s.
Fossilized remains of the gray whale (Eschrichtuis robustus), have been found dated to 340 BC, demonstrating that this species once roamed the North Sea, although it is no longer found there. A lower jaw of a lynx (Lynx lynx lynx) was found at the remains of a Roman settlement near Valkenburg in the Netherlands. During excavations of sites dated to the Roman period (around 400 AD) on the Rhine delta there were findings of important breeding sites of the Dalmatian pelican (Pelecanus crispus). According to the hunting rights of the bishops of Utrecht we know that brown bears (Ursus arctos arctos) were still found in the Netherlands as late as the eleventh century. According to a hunting licence from Drenthe, elk (Alces alces alces) were also known to be in this country until 1025. The North Atlantic right whale (Eubalaena glacialis), which once appeared from the Bay of Biscay to Norway, have disappeared from the waters around the Netherlands. It is suspected that the last whales were killed at the end of the Middle Ages. However, there was an alleged sighting off Texel in 2005.
- Alces alces alces – European elk (1025)
- Barbastellus barbastellus – barbastelle bat
- Bos primigenius primigenius – aurochs (400 AD)
- Equus ferus – tarpan
- Lynx lynx lynx – Eurasian lynx (Roman period)
- Mustela lutreola – European mink (1887)
- Rhinolophus ferrumequinum – greater horseshoe bat (1974)
- Rhinolophus hipposideros – lesser horseshoe bat (1983)
- Ursus arctos arctos – brown bear (eleventh century)
- Pinguinus impennis – great auk – globally extinct
- Tringa glareola – wood sandpiper (1939) – does not nest in the Netherlands any more, but they can be found during the migration season.
- Alosa alosa – allis shad (1993)
- Alosa fallax – twaite shad (1970)
- Coregonus oxyrinchus – houting (1940)
- Hippocampus ramulosus – common seahorse
- Thymallus thymallus – grayling
- Salmo trutta fario – brown trout
- Syngnathus typhle – deepnosed pipefish
- Pisidium tenuilineatum
- Rissoa membranacea
- Spermodea lamellata
- Unio crassus – thick shelled river mussel (1968)
- Aporia crataegi
- Argynnis paphia
- Boloria euphrosyne
- Brenthis ino
- Coenonympha hero
- Cupido minimus minimus
- Euphydryas aurinia aurinia
- Lycaena hippothoe hippothoe
- Melitaea diamina
- Nymphalis antiopa
- Phengaris alcon arenaria (1979)
- Phengaris arion
- Phengaris nausithous
- Phengaris teleius
- Plebeius idas idas
- Polyommatus semiargus semiargus
- Thymelicus acteon acteon
- Spialia sertorius sertorius
- Ammobates punctatus
- Andrena curvungula
- Andrena marginata
- Andrena nitidiuscula
- Andrena pandellei
- Andrena schencki
- Andrena thoracica
- Anthidium byssinum
- Anthophora aestivalis
- Anthophora bimaculata
- Anthophora borealis
- Anthophora plagiata
- Biastes truncatus
- Bombus confusus
- Bombus cullumanus
- Bombus pomorum
- Bombus subterraneus
- Coelioxys alata
- Dufourea minuta
- Halictus eurygnathus
- Halictus quadricinctus
- Lasioglossum laeve
- Lasioglossum laevigatum
- Nomada argentata
- Nomada furva
- Nomada mutabilis
- Nomada obtusifrons
- Nomada piccioliana
- Nomada rhenana
- Nomada roberjeotiana
- Osmia anthocopoides
- Osmia papaveris
- Osmia xanthomela
- Rophites quinquespinosus
- Thyreus orbatus
- Holocentropus insignis
- Hydroptila cornuta
- Hydroptila dampfi
- Ithytrichia lamellaris
- Micrasemodes minimus
- Oligoplectrum maculatum
- Sericostoma flavicorne
- Setodes viridis
- Silo piceus
Grasshoppers and crickets
- Euleuctra geniculata
- Isogenus nubecula
- Isoperla grammatica
- Isoptena serricornis
- Leuctra fusca
- Marthamea selysii
- Protonemura nitida
- Taeniopteryx nebulosa
- Xanthoperla apicalis
- Ametropus fragilis
- Choroterpes picteti
- Ecdyonurus affinis
- Ecdyonurus dispar
- Habroleptoides modesta
- Habrophlebia lauta
- Heptagenia coerulans
- Isonychia ignota
- Oligoneuriella rhenana
- Palingenia longicauda
- Potamanthus luteus
- Siphlonurus aestivalis
- Siphlonurus alternatus
- Siphlonurus lacustris
Reintroductions and rediscoveries
- Castor fiber albicus – European beaver
The last known European beaver in the Netherlands was killed in 1826. In 1988 European beavers were reintroduced in the Biesbosch, and in 1994 beavers were released in the Gelderse Poort (a wilderness area between Arnhem and Nijmegen). The new beavers are doing very well; their numbers are increasing and they are spreading to other parts of the Netherlands.
- Canis lupus lupus – Eurasian wolf
ICUN lists the grey wolf as regionally extinct in the Netherlands. In March 2015, the first wolf in 100 years was sighted in the country. This was the first recorded, and second reported sighting following recent successful wolf reintroduction programs in neighboring Germany, with transient migrant wolves apparently occasionally crossing the border. Three wolve cubs were spotted on the Veluwe in June, 2019
- Cricetus cricetus canescens – European hamsters
Under orders from the Dutch Government, in 1999 the Das&Boom Foundation caught all the remaining European hamsters in the Netherlands. These animals were placed in a breeding programme in Diergaarde Blijdorp (Rotterdam Zoo). They were extinct in the wild, but offspring from the breeding programme have been reintroduced in a hamster reserve in Sibbe in the southern province of Limburg. In 2003 more hamsters were released in a second hamster reserve in Amby, near Maastricht. These reintroductions were followed by four more reintroductions in Heer, Sittard, Puth and Koningsbosch. The wild hamster population has now grown to c. 600 burrows (December 2006).
- Felis silvestris silvestris – European wild cat
The wild cat probably became extinct in the Netherlands in Roman times. The first confirmed specimen in the Netherlands since that time was a dead cat found near Groenlanden in Gelderland, while another dead animal was found in 2002 near Vaals in South Limburg. The first living cat was caught near Heeze, North Brabant in 2004. In 2006 a wild cat was caught on camera near Vaals. These few sightings are not yet positive proof of the wildcat settling in the Netherlands, but the known range of the wildcat has been approaching the Dutch borders since the 1990s.
- Lutra lutra – European otter
The last lonely otter in the Netherlands was killed by a car on 17 September 1988 in the neighbourhood of Joure (Province of Friesland). The first otters were reintroduced in National Park De Weerribben (Province of Overijssel) on 8 July 2002. By 2012 they had been released in other parts of the Netherlands as well.
- Phocoena phocoena – harbour porpoise
The twentieth century saw the taming of the Zuiderzee as a large enclosure dam (the Afsluitdijk) was constructed. Completed in 1932, the Zuiderzee became the IJsselmeer and large areas of water could be reclaimed for farming and housing. After this the harbour porpoise, together with the bottlenose dolphin, disappeared from the waters around the Netherlands. They came back in the 1980s.
- Ciconia ciconia – white stork
Once these birds were very common in the Netherlands, but their number decreased fast in the twentieth century. 1891 was the first year that no white stork bred in the Netherlands. A conservation and reintroduction program that started in 1967 resulted in 396 pairs in 2000.
- Egretta garzetta garzetta – little egret
This bird became extinct in the Netherlands in the nineteenth century, due to overhunting because of their feathers which were used in the hat industry. In 1979 this bird first bred again in the Oostvaardersplassen nature reserve. The second time this bird bred again in the Netherlands was in 1994. After that year it bred yearly in the Netherlands. Their numbers are still increasing.
- Grus grus – common crane
In 2001, one common crane pair bred successfully after 250 years in the Fochteloërveen, a nature reserve on the border of the provinces of Friesland and Drente. Before 2001 the common crane could only be found during the migration period.
- Porzana pusilla intermedia – Baillon's crake
This bird was considered extinct in the Netherlands after it was last sighted breeding in 1972. In early 2005 five territorial and two breeding pairs were located again in the province of Utrecht.
- Salmo salar – Atlantic salmon
The Atlantic salmon was very common in the Netherlands in the seventeenth century, but disappeared when the rivers were tamed and closed by the Dutch to protect their land. The salmon could not reach their breeding ground in the rivers Rhine and Meuse. A reintroduction program resulted in salmon in the IJsselmeer and the river Rhine.
- Coenagrion armatum – Norfolk damselfly
In 1956 this damselfly was thought to be extinct in the Netherlands, but was rediscovered in the National Park De Weerribben on 9 May 1999.
- Coenagrion mercuriale – southern damselfly
- Tetrix bipunctata
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