The list author says: "The Sixth Great Wave of extinction is happening right now and to significant species. These books are all great nature writing talking about the demise of various animals and birds due to human causes. The Baiji, Po'ouli, Alaotra Grebe and Pinta Island Tortoise in the 21st Century have joined the Paradise Parrot, the Thylacine, the emblematic Dodo and so many others in this growing list. There are also species like the Christmas Island Pipistrelle Bat, and significant subspecies like the Western Black Rhinoceros, that are so recently extinct that the books are yet to be written.
This list is far from exhaustive - there simply aren't dedicated books on fascinating animals such as the Warrah or the megafauna of Madagascar - but I recommend these for their thoroughness and readability.
We've still learnt so little: locally, watching the current fate of the Leadbeater's Possum here in Victoria, Australia, shows the same patterns of destruction witnessed recently in these books."
"The recent extinction of the Baiji or Chinese River Dolphin, a species with a 20 million year history, is enormously significant. Samuel Turvey gives a broad and detailed account of the whole history, discusses the difficulties with conservation in China, and what has gone wrong at each stage in the demise of the Baiji, unofficially confirmed in 2006."
"Discovered in 1970s and finally extinct by 2004, this is a moving account of the short known history and courageous attempts to save this unique species. As with "Witness to Extinction" it gives good insight into the current nature of conservation efforts and how they can fail. Extinction in Hawaii continues."
"With so much previously written about the Thylacine, or Tasmanian Tiger, it was surprising to find Robert Paddle's detailed research overturning so much "common knowledge" that was plain wrong. A fascinating book."
"Today, 24th June, 2012, Lonesome George, the last Pinta Island Giant Tortoise, has died, rendering his subspecies extinct. This book is a detailed and enjoyable account of his unexpected discovery and life."
"A thorough book on the Caribbean Monk Seal, which apparently became extinct in the 1950s. Hairr covers the history and what is known of this once plentiful pinniped, including personal accounts and the factors - hunting, overfishing, captivity for entertainment - that led to its demise. As with the other books, many lessons to be learned."
"Beautiful enough to be a coffee table book, Penny Olsen's detailed account of the discovery and demise of the Paradise Parrot in Australia during the last century is well written and complemented by many paintings and photographs"
"A personal account of a committed ecologist's long battle to save the Poc, the flightless giant pied-billed grebe of Lake Atitlan in Guatemala, and of the political and natural forces that conspired against its salvation."
"From being one of the world's most abundant birds, clouding American skies, in less than a Century the Passenger Pigeon was reduced to one captive bird, Martha, who died in 1914. Eckert writes powerfully, lending empathy to the plight of this timid bird in life, history and extinction."
"The definitive biological account of the Gastric Brooding Frog, edited by Michael J. Tyler in 1983 two years after extinction, compiles articles by different writers covering all aspects of this species, its features, former distribution, evolution and relationships. It was a unique animal whose mysteries will now never be uncovered."
"With the weight of political will stacked against it, the Dusky Seaside Sparrow went extinct in the late '70s in the shadow of the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Walters himself saw the sparrows and here details every step of the songbird's demise - environmental destruction, the conflict between biologists and bureaucrats and the final mysterious disappearances at Disney World."
"A beautifully written account of the extinctions of six North American birds - Carolina Parakeet, Ivory-Billed Woodpecker, Heath Hen, Passenger Pigeon, Great Auk and Labrador Duck - traces them to the last individuals, covering the politics, experiences and struggles of those who lived and worked with each species. With b&w photographs. Essential!"
"Part of a series of books by Errol Fuller, consisting of most known illustrative material regarding the Dodo, along with the related (and also extinct) Solitaire of Rodrigues and White Ibis of Reunion. The text is limited, but a small and beautiful book."
"This is the place to start for anyone interested in a thorough book covering bird species that have recently become extinct, and these are just the ones we know about! Well illustrated with paintings and photographs throughout."
"Rightly regarded as an American classic of natural history writing, Bodsworth's moving novella fictionalises the migration of the last of the Eskimo Curlews. It has also been adapted as a children's TV animation in the seventies."
"Selecting both spectacular and better documented species, such as the Thylacine, Toolache Wallaby, Passenger Pigeon and Warrah, along with lesser known ones, Tim Flannery writes accounts of their histories to accompany the striking and detailed paintings of nature illustrator Peter Schouten. One of Schouten's works for this book was an enormous life-size painting of Steller's Sea Cow."
"The history of Giant Tortoises is remarkable, with different species recently widespread on the Indian Ocean islands - Mascarenes, Seychelles and Madagascar (and still Aldabra) - as well as the Galapagos. Chambers describes the history of each species, along with the demise of many, following the trails of evidence for some last surviving individuals to unexpected conclusions."
"A good place to begin regarding the extinction of animal species, from prehistoric times to the present. Richard Ellis discusses the late survival of species such as the Aurochs, the loss of so many, attempts at rebreeding, along with talking about the persistence of some thought already lost and those now endangered. Mostly text, with lots of line illustrations by the author."
"From a while ago but highly recommended, covering mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish and some plants, with ample illustrations. Subspecies such as the Bali Tiger, Atlas Bear and Quagga are covered. Unfortunately, such a wide-ranging book includes some mistakes, listing the Greater Bilby (beyond the Nalpa subspecies) as extinct, and both barred bandicoots. Still, a good place to start."
"There is no better modern nature writer than David Quammen, and he is adventurous enough to follow in the footsteps of Alfred Wallace, going to remote island locations and finding out personally how species are faring, as well as discussing the past inhabitants of these remote lands. First rate scientific nature writing and a great read!"
"At the edge of extinction where it blends with crytozoology, Scott Weidensaul sensibly discusses species seemingly just gone - Semper's Warbler, the Golden Toad, the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker - along with some that have amazingly come back. Fascinating investigative nature writing."
"While this book is from 1963, it remains the classic work on one of the most unusual birds ever. The male and female were so different they were initially thought different species. The tragedy is that they could have been saved using the same island transfer methods that saved other birds at the time."
"This book is a good place to begin on the subject with children. Translated from French, it features two pages to each extinct animal, with one featuring an illustration and summary, and the other telling a simple story in comic form. Well presented in a large, attractive format, anyone interested in this area should enjoy this book."
"The definitive account of the history of the flightless Great Auk, a large Northern hemisphere convergent equivalent of the penguins, a favourite of both bird and egg collectors, and extinct by 1850. For those less committed there is the smaller "The Great Auk: The Extinction of the Original Penguin," a colourful book in matching format to Fuller's dodo book."
"While the focus here is on the Quagga Project, attempting to breed back the quagga subspecies from its near relations, this is an informative account of the history and status of the mysterious "brown zebra" of South Africa. Don't pay ridiculous prices though - use libraries and shop around (this one is still available from the publisher)."
"This thorough account of the human-caused extinctions of many species, ranging from the recent to the not so recent, packs a lot of information into a small volume. It discusses each animal in detail, along with b&w photographs or illustrations, forming an important and useful recent resource."
"Related to Ellis' book "No Turning Back," this one details diminishing distributions of all rhinos and tigers (and discusses Asia's bears), including the recent extinctions of the Bali, Javan, Caspian and South China tigers. The causes are addressed, particularly Chinese medicine, in context with supporting history and mythology. An important book about megafauna at the very edge."
"An ornithological travelogue in which the author details his worldwide encounters while seeking out all 54 stuffed ducks and 9 eggs. This is more about the author's travels than an account of the Labrador Duck itself - see "Hope is the Thing With Feathers" for that - but if you enjoy sociological travelogues with some reference to nature and museums, you might enjoy this."
"A classic account of the destruction of the wildlife of North America - with particular focus on the North East - since the arrival of Europeans. It covers air, land and sea, and features the extinction of the Great Auk, Sea Mink, Labrador Duck and Eskimo Curlew, along with the almost total eradication of surviving species, and the destruction of fisheries."
"The demise of the `Alalâ in Hawaii from the 1990s on is well documented in Walters' detailed book. Politics, personal agendas and failed conservation efforts (as with other recent extinctions) are part, but Walters gives insight into the spiritual significance of extinction of a sacred local species. Extinct in the wild - some still in captivity!"