DODO BIRD: The Poster Bird for Premature Extinction of Mauritius

DODO BIRD: The Poster Bird for Premature Extinction of Mauritius

For millions of years the Dodo Bird lived a charming life on Mauritius without many worries. Because the Dodo bird had no natural enemies on the island, it evolved over thousands of years to a flightless, 3 ft. tall, 50 pound bird. Because of this peaceful life, the females enjoyed the luxury of only laying one egg at the time, because the species where not in any danger. But the charming life of the Dodo bird did not last forever.

In 1598 when the Dutch settlers first came to Mauritius, was also the first mentioned sighting of the Dodo Bird. The Dodo Bird where even said to be so innately trusting that it would walk straight up the Dutch settlers unaware of what was about to happen.   

When the Dutch started to colonies the island did they also bring a lot of new species with them that where unfamiliar to the Dodo Bird. On board did they bring with them dogs, cats, monkeys and pigs, but they also had the unexpected present of rates, which escaped the boat on to the island. These animals enjoyed the luxury of chasing the Dodo Birds and eating their eggs, which were easy accessible on the ground.  

Without that many options for the settlers and sailors when it came to food, did they decide to eat the easy catch-able Dodo Bird. Even though they kept eating the Dodo Bird, were it said to be “not that tasty” and "not like chicken", but that did not hold them back from eating as much as they could of the Dodo Bird.  

With the Dodo Bird slowly being killed by humans and other animals and their natural habitat being destroyed by the settlement of Mauritius, did the Dodo Bird go extinct just under 100 years after it was discovered by the Dutch, with the last official confirmed sighting being in 1662 and then believed to be complete extinct by 1681.   

The traditional image we see today of the Dodo Bird, is it being portrayed as a very fat and clumsy bird, but that might not have been true.  The only evidence of the Dodo Birds appearance is varies drawings, paintings and written account, from when the Dodo Bird lived. But only some of the illustrations have been drawn from real life Dodo Birds and the drawings were also based on the time trend within painting. The exact appearance of a Dodo Bird is still a bit of a mystery.  

The Dutch settlers did also manage to bring a few examples of the Dodo Bird with them home to Europe, but they did unfortunately no survive the journey. There are therefore only a handful of Dodo specimens in museums around Europe.  

There are though one full skeleton left of a Dodo Bird, which is located at the Natural History Museum in Port Louis, Mauritius.