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The Last Carolina Parakeet and Other Endlings

2018-02-21 | 🔗

On February 21, 1918, the last known Carolina parakeet died at the Cincinnati Zoo. We examine the stories of this endling and two others to see how abundant species can quickly become extinct.

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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hello and welcome to the poor cat. I'm Tracy Lee Wilson, I'm calling freind on February twenty first nineteen eighteen, a bird named Incas died at the Cincinnati view. Incas wasn't here. Parity and his mate. Lady Jane had died the year before that the last of their species in the night nineties physician Robert Webster of Jasper, Georgia coined a name For the last living member of a species which was annulling the word he realized need for, while he was treating a patient who told him that she was the last living member of her family line. Ambling isn't in Miriam Webster or the Oxford English dictionary, as of when we were recorded the but has been picked up by museums and John
the magazines in their discussions of last animals, especially ones that people cared enough about to name and then write about them when they died. So if you, examples of these end, lings our booming banned. The Heath hen too, was last seen on Marthas Vineyard Massachusetts. On March, eleventh, nineteen thirty two in the last has maybe and Tiger bite on September, seven. Nineteen, thirty six at the Hobart, Z you and have mania employment. Really recent toughie, who have ass, known, wraps friends, limbed tree frog abide on September, twenty six twenty. Sixteen at the Atlanta, Botanical Gardens Frog POD Laboratory for amphibian conservation. Since we are coming up on the centennial evidence extinction, they were going to talk about the Carolina Parakeet along with two other ambling, who were Martha the passenger,
gin and lonesome George, the Pinta island Tortoise just in case not clear. This episode would get back. I think they ve changed the way they do these ratings, but it used to be. The dog guy dot com, there would be a sad face of a dark here. If the dog died this this would have like all sad faces. This whole episode is about animals dying here. Once upon a time, Eastern North Amerika had its own native parrot species, Conor Copses, Carolyn emphasis that are known as the Carolina Parakeet or sometimes the Caroline appear it. A sub species Conor lapses. Carolyn answers, Ludovic Guianas was sometimes known as the Louisiana Parakeet, but in writings about them their generally group together, just as the pics
nine parakeet. It is not clear who coined the term Carolina Parakeet, but it was some time after the Carolina colony was chartered in sixteen sixty three. The birds first mentioned in writing date back to the fifteen eighties. Obviously, without the Carolina, Monica as part of them in sixteen twelve William strategy described them. This way in the history of travel into Virginia Britannia quote parakeet. Those I have seen many in the winter and known diverse killed. Yet they be a foul most swift of wing, their wings and breast. of greenish color with forked tales, their heads some crimson, some,
low. Some orange Tawny, Mary, beautiful you'll, just have to imagine the seventeenth century. Spelling of that passage a delightful it is ever it's one of those great examples that reminds me of the episode we did about how language shifts in the rules are made up her because there's some fast and loose spelling that changes for mentioned in there and I loved my favorite is that they are very ba. You t why a few l l is like, though a little kids. They viewed beauty full, of course, North Americans indigenous, people, already have their own names for these birds, and there were presented in indigenous aren't going back to pre history, including in pipes and calcite inhabitant ornaments. Their feathers and other parts were also used in native clothing and ornaments. Most sources described the birds ranges covering almost all of the Eastern United States,
its but research that was published and twenty seventeen suggests that the Carolina in Louisiana Sub species really have smaller ranges that didn't really overlap each other very much. According to this research, Carolina parakeets lived all through Florida and then in coastal regions from Texas up to Virginia, we, the Anna Parakeet, lived in the central part of the country in a squarest blob with the South West Corner in Central Texas and the northeast in Central Ohio. These were bright, green birds, roughly twelve inches or thirty centimetres long Do you? Wanna hills were green all over and as they mature, their heads turned, yellow with little reddish orange masks along their eyes running down beside their beaks and across the tops of their heads. In the words of James Hall. Writing in eighteen. Thirty, eight they were quote a bird of beautiful plumage, but very bad character.
their character probably got a lot worse. After the arrival of european colonists in North America really yearn to know what gave the backyard religious,
I see where they really have lowered his high about the next thing we're talkin about me. I like it. It's like a farce. I cartoon right would like the birds for the wrong side of the fact that in my head, that's how displease out Carolina, parakeets, eight fruit plants, some insects and a lot of seeds, and they were particularly fond of cockle birth seeds. So cockle barriers are native to North America, but their invasive in other parts of the world and even in North Amerika. These plants are annoying since their covered in prickly clinging seem ponds, covers, didn't really run rampant in pre colonial forests, but once colonists started clearing those forests for farmlands, they thrive in the disturbed soil. The plants themselves could choke out crops and make them difficult to harvest, and the birds could ruin sheep's wall and cause problems for other lives.
cargo perceives contain a glucose side that toxic to mammals, but Caroline parakeets love to grab one with the claw eat the feed that in the middle of it and then drop the prickly part on the ground. Carolina parakeets love of these seeds made them useful for cockle control and for control of the similarly annoying sand spur which they also liked to eat. But european colonists also we're planting orchards of fruit trees and the Pyrenees treated these crops exactly the same way that they treated cowcumbers. They grab the free with afoot, packed the seeds out of it and then through the
when fruit down on the ground, that is their bad character. Litter bogs, their wasteful, I feel guilty. Also joking about an extinct species, eminent put, the Carolina, parakeets went after cultivated fields of corn and other greens as well spoiling more food, and they ate John James Audubon describe them as covering fields of stacked, green, so completely that they looked like a bright carpet. On top of all this crop destruction, Carolina parakeets were highly full gregarious birds that travelled in huge, noisy flocks and left lots of droppings behind so allow colonists thought they were an enormous nuisance. Farmers hunted them aggressively to keep them away from crops and people also hunted them for food and for their feathers that ferry vibe.
Beautiful plumage made them really popular among milliners the birds. Own behaviour also made them easy targets. They congregated in large flocks and they would fly off at the sound of gunfire, but then all the birds would return same spot, especially if they heard one of their own injured there by the early nineteenth century. The Carolina parakeets numbers were an obvious climb. John Jay Audubon, published his birds of America in instalments, remained team. Twenty seven to eighty. In thirty eight and in that, but he described the decline as recent. He said that they had been plentiful twenty five years before, and this drop in population can't really be pinned on just one cause. In addition to the relentless hunting the birds lost, huge amounts of habitats through deforestation, especially after the cotton gin made. Cotton. A profitable crop in the south is also possible that the birds were forced out of
insights after the introduction of honey bees to North Amerika. There was never a formal study of these birds in the wild, so there is a bit of debate about whether they nested in hollow trees like honey bees do or if they built nests out of sticks or if they possibly did some of both. In the last few decades of their existence, Carolina parakeets were viewed as much less of a nuisance. Their numbers had dropped to the point that their control of cockle birth out their potential damage to crops, farmers were more inclined to just let them be, which may have ultimately lead to their extinction. We really dont know what tipped the scale from a reduced population to one with actively dying out, but why theory of the Carolina parakeets contracted a viral diseases from domesticated poultry, and that only would have been possible after they were allowed to hang around farms instead of being shot on site in nineteen. O
for the last known, Wild Carolina Parakeet was killed in oak. It shall be county Florida. Caroline parakeets were easy to keep as pets, although they could not be trained to talk. Breeding pears and small groups also lived in zoos on both sides of the Atlantic until the early twentieth century, and they had been bred in captivity since eighteen. Seventy seven there wasn't any sort of organised breeding programmes to try to re populate the species or create a genetically divers breeding pool at the Cincinnati, Zoo, Incas and Lady Jane produced several eggs, but they tend to throw them out of the nest and they weren't retrieved or incubating. Their interests as death. On February twenty first nineteen eighteen took a while to confirm that the species really was extinct. The official determination came in nineteen thirty nine following a National Audubon society surge of
Carolina after a purported citing their none of these reported five sightings wherever substantiated and a few of them turned out to be feral. Parents are parakeets that had previously been somebody's. Hats and head wound up out in the wild. I grew up in North Carolina and I always other child. Having heard about the Carolina Piercy, the fact that I was from North Carolina and that they were from North Carolina it when the named Carolina Piercy meant that they were my personal species of parakeet, that was now extinct, and I was very put out about that and when the Incas died, it was purportedly in the same cage where Martha. The last passenger pigeon had also died and we're gonna talk about Martha
passenger pigeons in general. After we first pause for little sponsor break this episode of stuff, you miss than history classes, brought to you by Norton three sixty with life. Luck with your shopping online with your smartphone. Its super feels like ear. Personal information is just right there in your hand, but that's not always the case, because, as soon as you hit submit, your personal information could start going other places, in fact, whenever you shop, bank or browse online, your personal invoking get out of your control, and that can we be vulnerable to cyber criminals. More threats demand more protection. That's why Norton and Lifelong are now part of one company Norton three
Stay with lifelike is an all in one membership for your cyber safety that gives you device security, identity theft, protection and a VP end for online privacy. No one can prevent all cybercrime and identity theft, but nor in three sixty with lifelike as your ally in today's connected world, because your information is out there sign up for Norton. Three sixty with lifelike today and save twenty five percent or more off your first year, go to Norton dot com, slash history, that's Norton, DOT, com, slash history for twenty five percent. off Europe, or at Tuskegee Migratory used to be the most common bird, and what's now, the United States, their winter rains, stretched from Eastern Canada down to Florida, it went all across the Phoebe River, covering more than half of the continent. There breed
arranged with a smaller pocket, primarily around the great lakes, and, what's now New York, male passenger pigeons were blue gray, with a rosy pink throat and chest. They were about sixteen and a half inches. That's about forty two centimeters in length and females were slightly smaller and this distinctively colored. They were closer to brown gray than blue gray, and they had more subdued coloring on their throat and chest. They looked enough like morning doves that this often lead to cases of mistaken identity. Although passenger pigeon were usually a couple of inches larger than morning doves, the nuts acorns seeds and berries, along with some worms and in back in the spring and summer. So when we say the most common bird, its estimated that, before european arrival in North Amerika. There were between three and five billion of them that is billion, with a b making up between twenty five and forty percent of all the birds in the places where they live
They formed enormous colonies with up to a hundred nests in an individual tree, sometimes so many birds with nest in a tree that branches would snap out of it or the tree itself would fall in the seventies and eighteenth centuries. Missionary Gabrielle sire T about describe their numbers as infinite multitudes, and Cotton Mather wrote about mile wide flocks it took hours to pass overhead. Your tell John Jay Audubon describe the flock he saw in one thousand eight hundred and thirteen the air was literally filled with pigeons, the light of new was obscured as by an eclipse. The dome Phelan spots, not unlike melting flakes of snow and the continued buzz of the wings, had a tendency to low my senses to repose and eighteen. Fifty five account from Columbus Ohio described the local risks. To the passing of an enormous pigeon flock quote: children screamed and ran for a home
women gathered their long skirts and hurried for the shelter of stores horse has bolted. A few people mumbled frightened words about the roots of the millennium and several dropped onto their knees and prayed. According to this account, this flocks passage took two hours there, but a number of remarks about like we don't have any kind of pictures or the mean, obviously not video. Quite at that point showing how dramatic these Locks of birds were but like the over and over their described is literally blotting out the sign and just waiting for hours and hours. As this massive flock of birds that blotted out the sign flew over and left droppings everywhere yeah. I I think the fact that peace
responded as though the apocalypse was really get indicator of how significant this bird flight was this eighteen. Fifty five account is somewhat surprising because the passenger pigeon had a pretty similar trajectory to the Carolina parakeet and by eighteen. Fifty five, their numbers were noticeably declining. This decline came primarily from over hunting. passenger pigeons forms such enormous flocks that they vastly outnumbered animal predators, so normal predation and even some hunting by humans wasn't enough to really reduce their numbers, but the patent pigeon could not overcome industrialization and are rapidly increasing human population in the nineteenth century to technologies where a huge part of the end of the species, the telegraph and the railroad. The telegraph made it easy to send
of where passenger pigeons were roosting and the railroad made it possible to ship huge barrels of pigeons around the country to use as a cheap source of meat. There were no observation laws restricting how people hunted passenger pigeons or how many could be killed. So people hunted them at their nesting sites and they killed massively unsustainable numbers in one go one eighteen: seventy eight hunt in Michigan took fifty thousand birds a day from their nesting say. As we said earlier, people have been noticing that the pigeon population was dropping as early as the eighteen fifties. People were still hunting these pigeons in massive numbers decades after they noticed their decline, states began passing laws to try to protect the passenger pigeon, including outlawing hunting near their nesting areas and, in one case, closing the pigeon hunting season entirely in nineteen hundred president, William Mckinley.
Find the lazy act, which was the nations first federal conservation law meant to protect fish and wildlife. One of the motivations for passing the lazy act was the plummeting star passenger pigeons, and it made it illegal to poach pigeons from one state with the intent of selling them in another. This was far too late for the passenger pigeon, though, by this point, some states where the birds had been widespread, hadn't spotted one. In years, the last confirmed, citing of a wild passenger pigeon, was on March twenty. Fourth, nineteen hundred in Pike County Ohio, almost two months to the
Before the passage of the lazy act, ornithologist mounted organised searches, including offering upper award of fifteen hundred dollars to anyone who could find a passenger pigeon between nineteen o nine in nineteen twelve, but none were found by the nineteen teams. The birds were extinct in the wild and the only captive populations were in three zoos. The Brookfield Zoo in Chicago the Milwaukee Zoo in Cincinnati, zoo attempt to set up a breeding programme failed because the birds, highly social nature, meant that they just didn't breed well in captivity. Martha. The last of the passenger pigeons was born in the Brookfield Zoo and then donated to Cincinnati. She was named after Martha Washington and her late, years. Her keepers had to keep lowering her perch ass. She became less able to flies. They basically had to get at low enough that she could to climb up there. The last male passenger pigeon died at the zoo on July tenth. Ninety
hen, and then Martha died on September first, nineteen fourteen at the age of about twenty nine. After her death, Martha, was packed in a three hundred pound block of ice and ship to the Smiths Sony and by train taxidermy. Nelson would mounted her remains and her internal organs are part of this mess, Sony and wet collections. Martha is still part of the Smithsonian collection as well, although she is not usually on display, because she is so delicate and very valuable. Theirs a passenger pigeon memorial at this incident is do our last endless was also preserved through taxidermy, couldn't confirm whether Incas was or not when we will get to that last story. After one were quick sponsor break this episode of stuff. You missed in history, glasses, brought
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Twenty five percent or more of your first year go to Norton dot com, slash history, that's Norton, Dotcom, slash history for twenty five percent off. The Galapagos Islands off the coast of Ecuador are famous for their diversity an animal life with a lot of species that are unique to each individual island. Charles Darwin conducted research there during the second voyage aboard the Hs Beagle which country
added to his theory of evolution by means of natural selection giant tortoises, are one of the most famous animals found in the Galapagos. Galapagos in Spanish means turtle, and there are fifteen different species which fall into two primary categories. Domed and Saddle backed Pinta island tortoises were saddlebag tortoises, with the shape of their shell, allowing them to stretch their heads up to reach for food. This was also a form of communication among the tortoises. They would stretch their heads up as far as possible when
wing disputes these tortoises, whereas their name suggests found on Pinta Island Penta Island as a shield volcano and it's the northernmost island of the Galapagos Sulphur whalers, who pass through the area Penta Island was usually the first and last island they passed on their journey from seventeen hundreds to the nineteen hundred's whalers hunted a law of tortoises from Pinta Island to use as food, and, as was the case with the Carolina Parakeet, the tortoises own traits made them susceptible to this tortoises can live for an extended period without food or water. Whalers realise that this meant that they could capture live tortoises on the island and keep them alive on board ships without a lot of effort allowing them to have fresh towards me in transit. It's hard to pinpoint how many tortoises were taken,
from Pinta Island alone, but its estimated that more than one hundred thousand tortoises were killed in the Galapagos in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries by the early twentieth. Three researchers believed that the pencil island tortoise was already extinct at that time. The island's ecosystem was in pretty good condition. Apart from the absence of tortoises, but a nineteen, fifty nine some fishermen released three goats onto the island, hoping to use them as a food supply when they, passed through the area, as will surprise no one who has ever been around goats. They ran round over the island. They ate their way through a lot of the vegetation and they produced lots and lots more votes. At that point. Research has concluded that if there had somehow been any tortoises left on pencil island. The Faro goats would have destroyed their habitat completely arab, yet in nineteen, seventy
I'm a hungarian scientist who was on the island studying snails, spotted a tortoise. The scientists name and apologies. If this is a butchering, job was usually of vague bulgy and when he got back. port. He reported what he had seen and a year later, Galapagos National Park Rangers went to the island to look for themselves and there they found one tortoise, and they took him to the Tortoise Centre on Santa Cruz to keep him If the american media leader started calling him lonesome George after tv comedian, George Goble, who had given himself that same nickname for decades, they try to find a breeding partner for Lonesome, George They tried pairing him with other tortoise species, including two female Wolf volcano giant those from Isabella Island later DNA Research, Reeve revealed that Pinta
tortoises might be more compatible with the espagnole, a tortoise two female Esben Yola tortoises from a breeding program or housing we're just corral, but none of the eggs that they produced were fertile. Lonesome George died on June, twenty fourth twenty twelve and he was probably at least a hundred. sounds like quite old, but he was actually only younger side for a Pinta island tortoise. Those tortoises could live to be up to two hundred bucks, Average age was more like around a hundred and fifty and other than some weight gain, which is common among tortoises in captivity. He had been in good health and his death was really unexpected. His unexpected death meant that his keepers were unprepared for preserving his body by are remote and the temperature was around a hundred degrees, Fahrenheit or thirty eight celsius. They eventually secured enough plastic wrapped the cover
entire body and a freezer to store him in lonesome. Georgia's remains were transported to the United States, where New Jersey, Taxidermy George Dante, preserve them. In a year long thirty thousand dollar process the took five hundred hours of labor to complete, George spend some time on display at the American Museum of Natural history. Before being returned to Ecuador, there was a little bit of a dispute between the researchers than the Galapagos
the government of Ecuador, about where he should be capped. Once he was returned, the government's argument was that a lot more people would be able to see him on display in the capital of Kyoto, and they also argue that there wasn't a facility in the Galapagos islands that could guarantee precise enough temperature and humidity control. I mean, after after an animal specimen is, is preserved through taxidermy, like that doesn't mean it stops decaying for the rest of time right. It's till it still tissue, that's going to have to be preserved. So there is a bronze statue of George
where to a Europe, Santa Cruz and the Galapagos instead in ninety ninety seven, the Charles Darwin Foundation and the Galapagos National Park Service launched project Isabella, which was a massive conservation project, meant to restore several islands that had been damage through the introduction of non native plants and animals, and this included exterminating hundreds of thousands of feral goats, The work at Pinta Island started a ninety, ninety nine and in two thousand and three the island was declared goat free. Fortunately, it appears None of the islands plant species became extinct during the goat invested. Sand and may have twenty ten thirty nine sterilised adult tortoises were released on the island to continue
restoration process, so basically there there to serve the purpose that tortoises fulfil in that ecology, but not to make more baby tortoises. Yet there are going to work on that part later in twenty fifteen, a breeding programme was announced to try to bring back the Pinta island tortoise, or at least a tortoise that ninety five percent genetically similar. The starting point is a population of isabella
tortoises that had enter bread with some Pinta island tortoises that sailors threw overboard about a hundred years ago. There has also been talk of cloning lonesome George himself, although that has, of course raised a number of ethical questions, along with concerns that people won't care about protecting endangered animal species. If we just cloned them later, we set at the top of the show, are the top of this chapter of show that there were fifteen species of tortoise than the Galapagos. But now there are only ten. Some of those species were only from extinction through very careful breeding programmes and other conservation efforts, and although they used to live elsewhere in the world, giant tortoises are now found only in the Galapagos and in the eldara asshole in the Seychelles. You a little bit a listener real for us.
She really short ones, but I'm gonna be both of them. The first one is from a Lauren and Lawrence as I just listen to the Memphis Sanitation Workers strike episode and wanted to write ends. I grew up right outside the city and fortunate I don't remember ever learning about the strike in our school curriculum, which is sad because there's so much history in the city that I never knew- and I was older. However, the national civil Rights Museum is based in Memphis, adjacent to the Lorraine, Mattel, we're doktor. Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated and I was lucky enough to tourists, for moving away at the powerful moving experience with exhibits that opened my eyes and deepened by empathy for the civil rights movement. I strongly encourage visitors to Memphis to go through the museum, especially of classes, tend to only scratch the surface of the torrent turmoil of the time. Thank you
telling stories and broadening my horizons, Lauren and then the other is from Sarah Sarah says I was excited to see the Memphis podcast. My cue since I grew up in a suburb of Memphis. As such, I had several school field trips to the historic, Lorraine Mattel, which is now the national Civil Rights Museum inside. There are some great exhibits, including a full size garbage struck in the room. Tat about sanitation strike at the end of the museum, you're able to walk past the room where I'm ok, junior staid and you can look at the window, where there is a wreath hanging on the railing where he was shot. I was surprised that you didn't mention The Lorraine Motel is now a museum if you're ever emphasis. I highly recommend going there even more than gray slander, Beale Street, especially when it comes to seeing an important part of history displayed an historic place have a wonderful day. Sarah thank you, learn and SARA. I originally had a lengthy discussion of that museum in the notes for the show, because there's a hall,
and being removed for the sake of time, so yes, Lorraine, most held it, was the site of Martin Luther King Jr assassination is now a national civil rights Museum. If you would like to write to us about this or is that episode was running long. And I really wanted as much of the focus to stay on the strike in the striking workers themselves. That was one of the things that wound up being removed for the sake of time. So, yes, Lorraine, was held. It was the site of Martin Luther King Jr assassination is now a national civil rights Museum. If you would like to write to us about this or any other podcast where history podcast the cost of works, TAT Tom were also on Facebook. At Facebook, TAT Tom Flash Miss than history were on twitter. It missed in history, our Instagram and our pinterest are also at missed in history. You can find our party
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