The Way of the Dodo is a 2003 log from PBS‘ program “The Voyage of the Odyssey” written by environmental educator Sara Earhart. The page contains some images, the audio and the log transcript. It starts with:
The Dodo (Raphus cucullatus) is arguably the most common icon associated with the island nation of Mauritius. Although it was only about 300 years ago that the dodo became extinct, very little is known about this bird. Ironically, even though the dodo lived into the time of written history, more is known about the natural history and behaviour of some dinosaurs than is known about the dodo. Its appearance, life history, and the history of its extinction all remain a mystery. The written reports and illustrations of sailors and ship’s naturalists who visited Mauritius in the 17th century are the basis of all known information. Primary sources, such as these, should not be accepted without question as they are subject to inconsistencies, elaborations, and artistic interpretation-thus the difficulty in creating a true picture of this unique relative of the pigeon.
Ok, nothing new until now. The log goes with the description of their history, habitat, the Dutch, their description and there it goes. It’s interesting, but we all know this story – if you don’t know visit the archives of this blog! To conclude the log:
Over a period of 40-50 years, human influences exerted more and more pressure on the dodo population. The last known written encounter with a dodo was recorded in 1662 by Volquard Iverson, a Dutch sailor stranded on Mauritius. He and his fellow castaways searched the island high and low for food and only encountered a small group of dodos on a coastal islet just off shore. Unfortunately, this was also the last known record of the dodo.
The dodo is the most famous animal extinction in human history. With its death came the realization that humans have the ability to extinguish an entire species. Ironically, once the dodo was declared “extinct” there was a surge in dodo research lasting more than 150 years. Today the dodo lives on in Mauritius only as a national symbol and as an image on textiles, woodcarvings, and souvenirs in local markets and shops. However, it is always present in one’s imagination to remind us that resources are not infinite and that humans must protect the world’s species, lest they too go “the way of the dodo.”