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Today on NPR it was reported that scientists knew that the Passenger Pigeon was going to become extinct when there were still 1,000,000 of the birds alive. How could that happen?

Asked by ibstubro (18626points) May 20th, 2014

It seem that by the time Passenger Pigeons were down to 1 million, mankind had already destroyed so much of the natural habitat that scientists at the time knew it was bound for extinction.

What do you think has changed?

Are we now generally better stewards of the environment in the ‘developed’ world? Less ‘whatever will be, will be’?

Or have technological advances given us the ability to come up with more solutions, i.e. freezing eggs and sperm or erecting some sort of artificial housing?

I found this interesting because I’m pretty sure I was taught in school that the Passenger Pigeon was basically hunted to death, much like buffalo nearly were. For sport.

The passenger pigeon was a colonial and gregarious bird and needed large numbers for optimum breeding conditions.

If you would like to hear the discussion on NPR, I’m unlucky at searching for content there, but I believe it was a discussion of Alan Weisman’s book.

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