List of extinct animals of the British Isles Redirected from List of extinct animals of Britain

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.


Extinct mammals include:[1]







  • Agonum sahlbergi (ground beetle) – 1914
  • Blue stag beetle – 19th century
  • Graphoderus bilineatus (water beetle) – 1906
  • Harpalus honestus (ground beetle) – 1905
  • Horned dung beetle – 1957
  • Ochthebius aeneus (water beetle) – 1913
  • Platydema violaceum (tenebrionid) – 1957
  • Rhantus aberratus (water beetle) – 1904
  • Scybalicus oblongiusculus (ground beetle) – 1926
  • Teretrius fabricii (histerid) – 1907

Bees, wasps and ants

  • Andrena polita (mining bee) – 1934
  • Bombus pomorum, apple bumblebee – 1864[18]
  • Bombus cullumanus, Cullum's bumblebee – 1941[18]
  • Eucera tuberculata (mining bee) – 1941
  • Halictus maculatus (mining bee) – 1930
  • Mellinus crabroneus (digger wasp) – c. 1950
  • Odynerus reniformis (mason wasp) – 1915
  • Odynerus simillimus (mason wasp) – 1905
  • Bombus subterraneus, short-haired bumblebee – 1989[18]


  • Merodon clavipes

Butterflies and moths

General reference: Waring et al., 2009.[19]


Dragonflies and damselflies


  • Hydropsyche bulgaromanorum (caddis fly) – 1926
  • Hydropsyche exocellata (caddis fly) – 1901



Land snails

† – Species is extinct worldwide

Reintroduction and re-establishment

The white-tailed eagle has been successfully re-established on the western coast of Scotland.[24] Having clung on in parts of Wales,[25] red kites have been successfully re-established in parts of England and Scotland.[26] Ongoing projects involve both these species: the corn crake 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.[27] A few hundred beavers live wild in the Tay river basin, as a result of escapes from a wildlife park.[28] A similar reintroduction trial is being undertaken on the river otter in Devon, England.[29] Also, around the country, beavers have been introduced into fenced reserves for many reasons including flood prevention.[30] In 2016, beavers were recognised as a British native species, and will be protected under law.[31]

In 2008, elk 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.

Set up by the Wildwood Trust, Konik horses have been established across many reserves as a proxy for the extinct Tarpan.[32]

In 1998, MAFF, now known as DEFRA released a report concerning the presence of two populations of wild boar living freely in the UK.[33] 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.[34][35]

Around 20 white storks pass through the UK each year.[36] A colony at the Knepp Estate in Sussex, aided by zoologist Roisin Campbell-Palmer, hopes to reinforce these off-path migrants by introducing adults into a fenced reserve, where the juveniles born will be able to establish other colonies further afield.[37]

The northern clade of the 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.

Smaller species, mainly reptiles, such as the green lizard and Aesculapian snake, have formed colonies probably due to a result of release from captivity.[38]

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, because no large predators are living in viable populations in Great Britain. It is theorized that a large predators presence could create a trophic cascade,[39] thus improving the ecosystem.[40]

See also


  1. ^ Yalden, D. (1999), History of British Mammals, London: T. & A.D. Poyser Ltd., ISBN 978-0-85661-110-0
  2. ^ "Muskrat, Ondatra zibethicus". GB Non Native Species Secretariat. Retrieved 27 December 2018.
  3. ^ Pritchard, Emma-Louise (2018-12-08). "There's only 1 free-ranging herd of reindeer in the UK and they are gentle giants". Country Living. Retrieved 2019-08-12.
  4. ^ "The lost beasts that roamed Britain during the ice age". BBC. July 22, 2015. Retrieved 29 August 2017.
  5. ^ "Wildwood's horses roaming free in Wales | Wildwood Trust". wildwoodtrust.org. Retrieved 2018-12-18.
  6. ^ "Walrus basks in Orkney attention". 3 March 2013. Retrieved 26 September 2018 – via www.bbc.co.uk.
  7. ^ "Wild Boar in Britain". www.britishwildboar.org.uk. Retrieved 26 September 2018.
  8. ^ Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust - Eagle Owl
  9. ^ Spoonbills return to breed in the UK after 300 years
  10. ^ Bill Teale (2016-09-17). "Birdwatch: Rare appearance from Kentish plover". Yorkshire Post. Retrieved 26 May 2017.
  11. ^ "Reintroductions". Knepp Wildland. Retrieved 2018-12-18.
  12. ^ a b c Charles Snell (2006). "Status of the common tree frog in Britain". British Wildlife. 17 (3): 153–160.
  13. ^ Naish, Darren. Britain’s lost tree frogs: sigh, not another ‘neglected native’. 2007. Retrieved 20 December 2017.
  14. ^ "Species feared extinct as Lucky the pool frog dies". The Independent. 1999-01-14. Retrieved 2018-12-18.
  15. ^ "Breaking New Ground – Northern clade pool frog reintroduction project". The Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust. Retrieved 2018-12-18.
  16. ^ Kristensen, Hans; Rasmussen, Arne; Allentoft, Morten; Allentoft, Morten E.; Rasmussen, Arne Redsted; Kristensen, Hans Viborg (March 2018). "Centuries-Old DNA from an Extinct Population of Aesculapian Snake (Zamenis longissimus) Offers New Phylogeographic Insight". Diversity. 10 (1): 14. doi:10.3390/d10010014.
  17. ^ "Darren Naish: Tetrapod Zoology: Hunting Green lizards in Dorset: new aliens or old natives?". Retrieved 2018-12-18.
  18. ^ a b c Bumblebee superfacts, BugLife, retrieved January 23, 2013
  19. ^ Waring, P.; et al. (2009), Field Guide to the Moths of Great Britain and Ireland, Hook, Hampshire: British Wildlife Publishing, ISBN 978-0953139996; UK Moths, Ian Kimber https://ukmoths.org.uk/, retrieved January 23, 2013 Missing or empty |title= (help)
  20. ^ Tilbury, Christine (March 2007), Gypsy Moth Advisory Note (PDF), Forest Research: Tree Health Division, retrieved 6 February 2014
  21. ^ "Viper's Bugloss Hadena irregularis – UK Moths", UK Moths, Ian Kimber, retrieved January 23, 2013
  22. ^ Gilbert Van Stappen (1996), "Artemia", in Patrick Lavens & Patrick Sorgeloos (ed.), 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
  23. ^ 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
  24. ^ George Monbiot. "15 species that should be brought back to rewild Britain". the Guardian. Retrieved 20 December 2015.
  25. ^ "RSPB: Redkite Conservation".
  26. ^ "The RSPB: Red kite". The RSPB. Retrieved 20 December 2015.
  27. ^ "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.
  28. ^ "Tay Beavers Origin". Scottish Wild Beavers. Retrieved 20 December 2015.
  29. ^ "River Otter Beaver Trial - Devon Wildlife Trust". www.devonwildlifetrust.org. Retrieved 26 September 2018.
  30. ^ "Cornwall Beaver Project | Cornwall Wildlife Trust". www.cornwallwildlife.org.uk. Retrieved 2018-12-18.
  31. ^ Carrell, Severin (24 November 2016). "Beavers given native species status after reintroduction to Scotland". the Guardian. Retrieved 26 September 2018.
  32. ^ "Wild horses help restore moorland". BBC News. 2018-06-21. Retrieved 2018-12-18.
  33. ^ "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.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  34. ^ "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.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  35. ^ "Wild Boar". The British Association for Shooting and Conservation. BASC. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  36. ^ Crisp, Wil (2018-07-07). "White storks to breed in Britain for the first time in 600 years". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 2018-12-18.
  37. ^ "White Storks". Knepp Wildland. Retrieved 2018-12-18.
  38. ^ "Non-native reptiles". The Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust. Retrieved 2018-12-18.
  39. ^ Britain, Rewilding. "Wolf". Rewilding Britain. Retrieved 2018-12-18.
  40. ^ "Call for lynx and wolf reintroduction". BBC News. 15 July 2015. Retrieved 20 December 2015.

Further reading

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