Target: General Public
Goal: Remember the extinct passenger pigeon and prevent future extinctions on our planet
September 1, 2014 marks the 100-year anniversary of the extinction of the passenger pigeon. These birds used to be extremely abundant, but thanks to humans, they were hunted to extinction. Unlike other species, humans know the exact time when the last passenger pigeon passed away on our planet. This grim and depressing moment must be remembered so other species do not meet this same fate.
On September 1, 1914, at about one o’clock on in the afternoon, Martha, the last remaining passenger pigeon in the world, died at the Cincinnati Zoo. Fifty years ago these birds numbered in the billions in North America, but humans have hunted them to extinction. These birds were easy to hunt because they traveled in huge groups. Early writings even detailed how these birds could block out the sun for days when they migrated. During the Civil War era, these birds numbered in the billions, but by 1890 there were only a few thousand passenger pigeons remaining.
Their rapid disappearance was hard for the public to accept. Many denied that the passenger pigeon was truly gone, and instead surmised that the birds must be living elsewhere. Whatever the case, a passenger pigeon has not been seen since Martha’s death. It is crucial to remember the passenger pigeon and other extinct species so this grim moment is never repeated again. Wolves, who have been recently taken off of the Endangered Species list, are already under threat once more. Dolphins, the bluefin tuna, tigers, elephants, and rhinos are also under threat. So please, remember the passenger pigeon so others do not suffer the same fate.
It has been one hundred years since Martha, the last passenger pigeon, passed away. Her passing has left a mark in history, and she is also a grim reminder that extinction can happen to any species, especially ones whose habitat has been destroyed by human beings.
By remembering Martha, the last of her kind, I hope you will strive to make sure that no other species will go extinct. It’s been discussed that humans could be responsible for the Sixth Extinction, a period where a staggering amount of animals die from natural causes, or in this case, by human causes. Wolves, dolphins, tigers, and elephants are under threat, but we still continue to destroy their habitats, or kill them for their animal parts. Please remember the passenger pigeon so other species won’t suffer the same fate.
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Photo credit: cotinis via Flickr