European brown bear.

9 animals made extinct in Scotland since the Roman occupation

Since the Romans departed Scotland in the early third century AD, much of the nation’s indigenous fauna has vanished too.

Thursday, 11th March 2021, 4:45 pm

Whether by the slow though often dramatic march of climate change, habitat loss brought about by the hand of man, or simply over-hunting, a growing list of birds and mammals survive in Scotland only in the history books and through fossil records.

Travelling back around 1,500 years and we find our ancestors living cheek by jowl with large predators now more associated with the wilderness of North America and Eurasia.

Early Scots shared their pristine lands with bears, wolves and lynx. Even the moose, also known as the elk, was not an uncommon sight.

But while most of these species continue to exist and thrive outside of Scotland, some, such as the beaver, boar and elk, have been successfully reintroduced.

Others have not been quite so fortunate. The great auk, large flightless birds that once occupied our most remote islands, were hunted to complete extinction in the 19th century.

We take a look at 9 animals made extinct in Scotland in the last 2,000 years.

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription at

Page 1 of 3