Friday, 30 October 2015

Day 30: The Dodo bird

This is what the Dodo may have looked like...

When I first asked Fabrice about the Dodo bird, one of most famous symbol of Mauritius, all he could tell me was: "They were birds that lived on the island, the Dutch came and killed them all"... A bit too short of an explanation don't you think?

The dodo is an extinct bird that was about 1 metre tall and may have weighed around 15kgs.  We think that it's flightless because there was enough food around the area and no predators on the island before humans invaded it.  Obviously, nobody still alive has ever seen a Dodo bird, and considering it became extinct by the 17th century the only proofs we have are drawing and paintings. 

So what happened? At the end of the sixteenth century, Dutch sailors took possession of Mauritius and started to hunt the bird. The introduction of domesticated animals and a rat invasion also provoked the early disappearance of the bird.

The dodo also became famous for its part in Alice in Wonderland, and is also prevalent in  popular culture, where it usually represents a symbol of extinction and desuetude. 
The extinction of  the Dodo has also called attention to the problem of human involvement in the disappearance of entire species.