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The Tragic End of the Great Auk

I’ve been writing about extinct animals and the way they became extinct. I have to say that the story of the great auk is the most shocking so far. This bird was similar to a penguin and counted as a large seabird that didn’t fly.

The Great Auk was native to all of the North Atlantic from Greenland to eastern Canada to the British Isles and the westernmost coasts of Europe. That was a lot of territory for this bird. It was in demand for its light and fluffy down, used as stuffing for pillows and mattresses.

By the late 1600s, this bird was practically extinct in Europe due to the fact that it was easy to hunt down. In the 1770s a law came into being in Great Britain that forbid the killing of auks. Unfortunately, the demand for their feathers and meat just increased. What shocks me is the end of the Great Auk.

In 1844 two Icelandic hunters strangled the last two breeding birds and a third man destroyed their single egg. How people can be so cruel and what good did this do them I will never understand. It was the end of the Great Auk.

  • Question of

    Have you ever heard about the Great Auk before?

    • Yes
    • No
  • Question of

    Have you ever seen this bird in pictures or a book?

    • Yes

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