This slideshow commemorates the Texas animals that have seen and currently face extinction. A Stanford study released last Friday finds vertebrates, including mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish, are disappearing at a rate 114 times faster than normal. The number of vertebrate species that have gone extinct in the last century normally take 800 to 10,000 years to disappear under natural extinction rates, according to the Huffington Post.
Yes, there are manatees in Texas. Sightings of these majestic sea cows were quite common during the turn of the 20th century in the Laguna Madre region. Manatees are still occasionally spotted along Texas coasts, rivers and estuaries, but sightings are quite rare. Worldwide, the West Indian manatee is considered a vulnerable species.
Jaguars are largely extirpated (considered extinct within a geographic area) within the Southwestern United States, but there are still small populations in Arizona and New Mexico.
Merriam's Elk was the only native elk in Texas, found throughout the Guadalupe Mountains. Sadly, this species went extinct in Texas at the turn of the 20th century. In 1928, watipi or elk (Cervus elaphus) were reintroduced to the area.
Several herds of the new species now reside in the southern region of the mountains.
The red wolf was once found throughout the eastern half of the state. It has now been extirpated from the wild, with the only known remnants of the population now in captivity.
The ocelot, also known as the leopard cat, is found usually along the border. This small, house cat-like, was once regarded as particularly valuable. As a result, hundreds of thousands of ocelots were killed for their fur.
Though the largest concentration of bats in the world is found at Bracken Cave in Comal County, home of the Mexican freetailed bat, the Mexican long-nosed bat faces extinction in Texas. The bats synchronize their migration to Texas with the summer blooming cycle of agave plants on which they rely for pollen and nectar. While in Mexico, they also eat the nectar, pollen, and fruit of giant columnar cacti as well as insects.
Some theorize that if this species of bat is lost, the ever-important agave plants will suffer, that is: no more tequila.
The Margay, now extinct in Texas, was found near Eagle Pass. Very similar to the ocelot, this cat was hunted illegally for the wildlife trade, resulting in a large population decrease worldwide.
Jaguarundi, a small wild cat, is rarely found in extreme South Texas. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has expressed concern that the presence of the jaguarundi in Texas suffers due to loss of the cat's native habitat.
Like other large whales, the humpback was a target for the whaling industry. Once hunted to the brink of extinction, its population fell by an estimated 90% before anti-whaling regulation was introduced in 1966.
Humpback whales can be spotted in the Gulf of Mexico during the colder months of the year when the whales migrate to the warmer region for mating and food.
Once occupying a wide range over the western two-thirds of the state, the gray wolf is now considered extinct in Texas. The gray wolf, also known as timber wolf, has a long history of being killed throughout rancher communities due to their attacks on livestock. The gray wolf is one of the world's best known and well researched animals.
Also known as razorback, the fin whale is the second largest animal in the world, growing to roughly 80 ft in length. The fin whale was heavily hunted throughout the 20th century adding this mammal to the endangered species list. Like the humpback, the fin whale migrates to the Gulf of Mexico during the winter months to mate and find food.
The black-footed ferret, related to the weasel and mink, was formerly found widely throughout west Texas or rather prairie dog country. Roughly 91 percent of their diet is composed of prairie dogs. However, this ferret is now considered extinct in Texas.
The mountain sheep, also called desert bighorn, formerly was found in isolated areas of the mountainous Trans-Pecos, but the last native sheep were seen in 1959. The population crashed due to diseases, specifically pneumonia, introduced through European livestock as well as over hunting.