Little Bits of History


Posted in History by patriciahysell on February 21, 2012

Carolina Parakeet

February 21, 1918: The last known Carolina Parakeet dies at the Cincinnati Zoo. The last wild specimen was killed in Florida in 1904. Incas, the male parakeet at the zoo, died within a year of Lady Jane, his mate. Incas died in the same cage that had housed Martha, the last passenger pigeon, who had died at the zoo in 1914. It was not until 1939 that the Carolina Parakeet was determined to be extinct. Once plentiful in the Eastern US, the area’s only native parrot came to this ignominious end for a variety of reasons. Their habitat was cleared away for agriculture, the newly introduced honeybee took over nesting areas, and they were hunted by farmers. Their green and yellow feathers were also prized.

The North American continent, like all others, have lost a host of species across time. In the last 10,000 years the avian community has altered considerable. The Merriam’s Teratorn disappeared ≈ 8000 BC and another five species are known to have become extinct before 1500 AD. Since that time, we know we have lost 25 different species of birds, the Carolina Parakeet among them. Although there have been claims of sightings, none have been confirmed. There are another seven North American birds that are probably extinct.

A species is extinct when the last member dies. It becomes functionally extinct when only a few members survive and they are not able to reproduce. It is imperative to have a clear definition of a species in order to determine if a replacement or daughter species has evolved. Species can also become locally extinct but exist elsewhere on the planet. Some species are known to be extinct in the wild but remain alive in zoos or other artificial environments.

Those species not extinct are extant. When numbers in an extant species drop, they become threatened or endangered. Even endangered species are sub-classified as critically endangered, endangered, vulnerable, conservation dependent, near threatened, and least concern. There is controversy over what criteria is used in order for a species to make the list. Ecologists, striving to learn more about endangered species, leave their own mark on the survival, say environmentalists. Biodiversity as enacted by conservationists may not leave room for ecological succession.

Ninety-nine percent of species put on this list are not extinct. That is not a failure; that’s an enormous success. – Norm Dicks

This is recognizing that beyond architectural beauty, natural beauty is something that can’t be replaced. Once these bird species go extinct they’re not coming back. – Adrian Benepe

The fact that no species has gone extinct that’s been protected under the Act…is a resounding success. – Peter Galvin

This is a totally unusual conservation dilemma – species going extinct in a relatively pristine environment. Now we’re basically trying to save as many as we can as we try to figure out our next step. – Alejandro Grajal

Also on this day:

The Washington Monument – In 1885, the Washington Monument was dedicated.
Karl Marx – In 1848, The Communist Manifesto was published.
Plop, Plop, Fizz, Fizz – In 1931, Miles Laboratories introduced Alka-Seltzer to the world.

2 Responses

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  1. Bobby said, on February 21, 2012 at 11:55 am

    Native to a pirate ship from which the first pair escaped from- something that purist people would not like being known.

  2. Bobby Dias said, on February 22, 2012 at 8:19 am

    From this article: “The fact that no species has gone extinct that’s been protected under the Act…is a resounding success. – Peter Galvin” Me- no species has been declared extinct because the the people talking about possible extinction need an element of danger- extinction would eliminate their ability to advertise for donations and contracts to try to “protect” that particular species- something they forget about the moment they receive the money. Then they go on to saying another species in danger of extinction. Receive money. Go on to a different species. $$$$$$$$$$

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