(ORDO NEWS) — Now we are trying to monitor nature and prevent the extinction of small species. However, before people did not care about animals so much.
For centuries, mindless and driven only by their appetite, hunters and sailors have exterminated entire species. Here are just a few of the most famous animal species that the Earth has lost.
People are not always good at moderation, especially when it seems that there are still many animals to eat and they are very tasty.
Although extinctions always depend on many factors, the destruction of some species can be almost directly related to the voracious appetites of modern humans. Here are just a few of the animals we have lost due to our overeating.
1- Dodo bird
These flightless land birds were once abundant on the island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean. Larger than turkeys, Dodos or Mauritian dodos weighed about 23 kg and had blue-gray plumage and a large head.
In an environment without natural predators, the birds were not afraid of the Portuguese sailors who discovered them around 1507. As a result, humans quickly wiped out a significant portion of the dodo population simply by eating them.
The later introduction of monkeys, pigs, and rats to the island proved disastrous for these birds, as these mammals began to eat the eggs of Dodo birds. The last dodo was killed in 1681. Unfortunately, there are very few scientific descriptions or museum specimens of these animals.
2- Sea cows
Discovered in 1741 by the German naturalist Georg W. Steller, sea or Steller cows once inhabited the coastal areas of the Commander Islands in the Bering Sea.
Much larger than modern manatees and dugongs, sea cows reached a length of 9-10 meters and weighed about 10 metric tons.
These massive, docile animals floated on the surface of coastal waters, but, unfortunately, were not able to dive.
This made them an easy harpoon target for Russian sealers, who used them as a source of meat on long sea voyages. Because of this, Steller’s cows were extirpated in 1768, less than 30 years after they were first discovered.
3- Passenger pigeon
Once known for its massive migratory flocks that darkened the sky for days, the passenger pigeon began to die out due to hunting in the early 1900s.
Billions of these birds once inhabited eastern North America and were similar in appearance to turtle doves. As the American settlers moved west, they annually slaughtered millions of passenger pigeons for meat and shipped them to markets.
Hunters often raided their nesting sites and destroyed entire colonies in one breeding season. From 1870, the decline of the species became rapid, and some unsuccessful attempts were made to breed birds in captivity.
The last known passenger pigeon, named Martha, died on September 1, 1914 at the Cincinnati Zoo in Ohio.
4- Great auk
The great auk or great auk was a flightless seabird that bred in colonies on rocky islands in the North Atlantic, namely St Kilda, the Faroe Islands, Iceland, and Funk Island off Newfoundland.
The birds were about 75 cm long and had short wings which they used as flippers. Completely defenseless, auks were killed by hunters in the early 1800s.
Enormous numbers were captured by sailors, who often drove the birds onto the deck and killed them. The last known members of the species were killed in June 1844 on Eldey Island, Iceland for museum collection.
5- Woolly mammoth
Thanks to a number of well-preserved frozen carcasses in Siberia, the woolly mammoth is the best known of all mammoth species.
These massive animals died out about 7500 years ago, after the end of the last Ice Age. While climate change certainly played a significant role in their extinction, recent research suggests that humans may have also played a significant role in their demise.
Mass hunting and a warming climate are a deadly combination, and it seems that even the mighty mammoth could not resist the human appetite in a changing world.
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