After the 1500s, European expansion and modernization resulted in the extinction of many animal species. Other human actions, such as hunting, also caused the extinction
of some species and the destruction of much of the environment.Several species of birds have gone extinct during recent European history. Cranes became extinct during the 16th century. Sea eagles are now extinct in Europe, as is the osprey, capercaillie, golden eagle, and chough. Red kites nearly died out as a consequence of human destruction of their environment and hunting of the bird, and now only a
small number remain.
Wolves used to inhabit much of Europe. In the 1500s, the French continued to go on wolf hunts. In Britain, wolves survived in Scotland until 1763. Eventually, though, hunting and destruction of habitat wiped out the last wolves.
The ancestors of cattle, known as aurochs, eventually became extinct in Europe in Poland in 1627.
Bison once roamed throughout Europe, but eventually their populations were reduced to those in Eastern Europe. The last ones died in Poland in 1920.
During this era, there was little concern for the environment, especially for animal species. Much of the destruction of the natural world came with the
modernization of Europe. Governmental actions and commercial developments also often had a negative impact on the environment and the creatures that inhabited it.