The Passenger Pidgeon is extinct, killed by mankind’s hunger. Literally.
Nothing was done about conserving this animal because it was thought that they were so numerous they could absorb any losses from hunting. Yes – we under-estimate ourselves sometimes. To be fair, flocks of these pidgeons would number in the billions. One report back in the late 19th century stated that it took a mile-wide, 300 mile long flock 14 hours to pass overhead. Now that’s a lot of birds.
Pidgeon meat was very sought-after as a cheap game meat for poor people. In the peak of pidgeon hunting, 50,000 birds were killed per day. Not surprisingly, it took only 5 months to practically wipe these beautiful animals out – the last example, called Martha, died in 1914, and now sits in the Smithsonian.
I wonder if cod and other fish may have a similar story in years to come?