Looking at world history, we find many species that have become extinct due to human activity. It is happening today as it was then. Endangered species include the Pyrenees ibex, Stellar seagull, Tasmanian tiger, quagga, and Dodo.
The first extinct dodo bird was the one mentioned above. The last recorded species of this endemic bird was in 1662. In the 359 years since then, no dodo has been reported in the world, making it one of the world’s most endangered species.
How the dodo bird was first encountered
By the end of the 16th century, Holland’s naval power was strong. So Holland began to explore the East. One day in 1598, a group of Holland sailors set sail for Indonesia. During the voyage, they discovered the beautiful island of Mauritius.
About 90 years ago, the island was discovered by a group of Portuguese sailors, so Holland sailors decided to explore the island.
The sailors explored the island and saw a large number of beautiful animals. They had never seen such a bird before. This wingless bird is endemic to the island of Mauritius.
Because of the strange appearance of these birds, Holland sailors saw them as a group of stupid birds. That is why they were named “Dodo.” However, before the Dutch sailors found Dodo on Mauritius, a group of Portuguese sailors also spotted a group of strange birds in the vicinity of the island of Mauritius. Therefore, historians who focused on those records speculated that Portuguese sailors also found the same bird species.
The appearance of the bird
By the time the Dodo was first identified, the world was not technologically advanced. Therefore, the notes written about Dodo by various sailors at that time helped to gain a later understanding of the appearance of the dodo bird. Explorers’ drawings also provided an overview of the Dodo’s appearance.
The Dodo has had blue, gray, white, and brown feathers. Also, the bird had short wings but could not fly. Dodo also had a large bronze color beak. The average adult bird weighs about 50 pounds [50 kg]. In addition, the dodo bird had a short tail. The yellow Dodo also had three toes on the front and one toe on the back.
According to sailors and explorers, the following foods are believed to have been eaten by dodo birds. However, the distinctive feature of this bird was its increased consumption of plant foods.
- Ripe fruits
- Flower buds and leaves of trees
- Potatoes and roots of certain plants
- All types of grass
- Types of small insects
Dodo birds preferred to live in isolation, living only in pairs during the breeding season. As the Dodo lay its eggs, the males saw the various leaves and twigs form a solid nest. After hatching, the male and the female participated in protecting the nest. An unidentified dodo was not allowed within 200 meters of the cage. If an unidentified dodo enters, they are immediately chased away.
Thus, we can assume that the dodo birds provided much protection to their young due to their low reproductive rate.
Reasons for extinction
Dodo birds, which lived in the distant past without any danger, became extinct very quickly, less than a century before they were discovered in the world. Historians speculate that the following may have contributed to the extinction of the Dodo.
Hunting for meat
Many sailors and explorers visited the island of Mauritius between 1598-1662. Those who came with them stayed on the island for months. Those who remained like that needed food. There they hunted for food. Unfortunately, the dodo bird was indifferent and could easily fall prey to poachers. People’s endless hunting of birds eventually led to their extinction.
Low fertility rate
Due to the low reproduction rate of dodo birds, they did not produce young enough to become extinct. Also, some people used the eggs in the dodo cages to prepare food. As a result, many of the Dodo chicks about to be born became untimely. It was also one of the main reasons for the extinction of the Dodo.
The arrival of various animals on the island with humans
Along with the human groups that came to the island of Mauritius, animals like dogs and cats also came. During their stay on the island, they hunted a variety of animals. There, the animals also hunted dodo birds. But, unfortunately, it also caused the Dodo to disappear from the world.
Habitat and food shortages
Dodo birds have lost their habitat due to the destruction caused by various human groups on the island of Mauritius. They also became extinct as a result of the food they commonly consumed. Such loss of habitat and food posed a significant threat to Dodo’s survival. As a result, they disappeared from the world.
Cover photo Credit – Dodo (Youtube)