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The world will observe the 100th death anniversary of Martha, the last Passenger Pigeon, on Monday (September 1).
Martha died when it was just 29 and its death marked the complete extinction of this bird species.
To honour this incredible species of bird, Cincinnati Zoo, where it breathed last in 1914, organized a ‘Martha fundraiser’ event on Friday night. Almost all the people who turned up to participate in the event have only heard about this bird species in stories and seen them in book, thanks to the human intervention which led to its extinction almost over a century ago.
Cincinnati zoo has preserved the empty cage of the last passenger pigeon as a mark of honour.
Some of the environmentalists and the historians, who were fortunate enough to witness them through their naked eyes in reality, call them beguiling.
Over a 100 years ago, millions and millions of passenger pigeons flocked together over eastern United States and Canada, turning the sky into a dark heavenly abode. But gradually millions of these birds reduced to none and went extinct in 1914.
Environmentalists call the story of Martha as a wakeup call for all of us who have till today learnt no lesson from our mistakes committed in the past.
Urging a check on human interference into the nature, famous writer and environmentalist Mark Avery said, “We lost passenger pigeon and much of the rest of North America’s wildlife through ignorance, but we can’t use that excuse today and we still plunder the world’s natural beauty. Now we can see, clearly, what we are doing.”
In his book ‘A Message from Martha: The Extinction of the Passenger Pigeon and Its Relevance Today’, Avery has highlighted about the passenger pigeons and what led to their extinction.
Avery says the only contributor to the extinction of these birds was human intervention. Deforestation or clearing of forests led to the mass extinction of passenger pigeons as rich forest cover offered shelter to them and was necessary for their survival.
Other human activities like construction of rail road, better firearms and telegraph service hastened the process of extinction of these birds.
This was not the end to the woes of these tiny creatures. Humans started hunting of these extinct birds just for their fun. Their flesh was used for eating purpose. They also became part of hunting competition.
By 1830s, millions of birds were shot down by the hunters and this led to a significant drop of their population to danger levels.
The environmentalists say it’s the time to pledge that we will not commit similar mistakes in future and conserve the nature and its beauty.