Quiz: Endangered and extinct species

Joy Bhattacharjya | Updated on January 08, 2018 Published on October 20, 2017

This week, a quiz on endangered and extinct animals and birds

1 There were estimated to be almost three billion of these birds at one time. Even as late as 1866, a flock of them flew over Northern Ontario and took 14 hours to pass overhead. Yet, the last of them, Martha, died in captivity in 1914. Which unfortunate bird was it?

2 The Asiatic wild dog, also known as the red dog, was once ubiquitous in India. But it is now listed as endangered, with a count of less than 2,500 adults. By which name is this dog more commonly known?

3 This species of wild cattle, which went extinct in the 17th century, was bred back by the Heck brothers in Germany in the 1920s. Name it.

4 There are only three subspecies of Asian elephant. The most critically endangered of these has a population of less than 3,000, mainly because the forest blocks in the country are too small to sustain elephant populations. In which country will you find them?

5 The axolotl is a species of amphibians found in numerous lakes in and around a capital city. They were originally a staple diet of the local people and are the subject of much research for their miraculous ability to regenerate limbs. Which city would you associate with the axolotl?

6 This species of whales, referred to as ‘sulphur bottoms’ in Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, was down to an estimated five to 10,000 worldwide before the whaling ban in 1966. More recently their number has climbed to between 15,000 and 25,000. Which species are we talking about?

7 The Asiatic cheetah was once found all over Asia, with maharajas using them for hunts. Now they are critically endangered and are found in only one country in the continent. Where?

8 The baiji is a variety of freshwater dolphin regarded as a goddess by local fishermen. It was declared as functionally extinct in the 1980s due to hydroelectric projects and heavy use of the river for fishing and transport. In which river would you have come across the baiji?

9 This large African mammal had more than eight varieties, three of which — the cape, the north-eastern and the Chobe — have already been declared as extinct by International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The remaining subspecies have just around 4,000 surviving. Name the mammal.

10 In the terminology used by the IUCN, what is the status of an animal species if it is declared as EW? Examples include the Barbary lion and the Hawaiian crow?


1. The passenger pigeon

2. Dhole, declining mainly due to habitat loss

3. Aurochs; it features in Asterix in Spain

4. Indonesia, the Sumatran elephant; the two other varieties are Indian and Sri Lankan

5. Mexico City; they are also known as the Mexican salamander

6. The blue whale, the largest animal ever known to have existed

7. Iran; the Touran Wildlife Refuge has one of the largest populations of cheetah

8. The Yangtze; it was also known as the Chinese river dolphin

9. The black rhinoceros. The white rhinoceros has done comparatively better, with nearly 20,000 still around

10. Extinct in the wild. There may be breeding populations in zoos

Joy Bhattacharjya is a quizmaster and Project Director, FIFA U-17 World Cup; Follow Joy on Twitter @joybhattacharj

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Published on October 20, 2017
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