Lost Forever/Animals We’ll Never See Again: Great Auk

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The Great Auk (Pinguinis impennis) was a large, flightless bird that went extinct in 1844 when the last known specimens were killed on the 3rd July at Eldey Island, Iceland. The nearest living relative of the Great Auk is the Razorbill.

 

HABITAT AND DIET
Historically, the Great Auk only bred on remote, rocky islands. Young birds fed on plankton, while the adults dived for fish.

 

MAJOR THREATS
Great Auk Painting.preview.jpgGreat Auks were hunted for their feathers, meat, fat and oil. As the birds became more scarce, early conservations believed that the collecting of specimens was necessary to help save the species. Unfortunately, this specimen collecting was what lead to the ultimate demise of the Great Auk.

In remembrance of the errors that early conservationists made, the peer reviewed academic journal of the American Ornithologists Union is named the Auk.

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Animals You May Not Have Heard About: Hoatzin

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The hoatzin is found in Ecuador and is a very strange bird, it has an extremely strange smell reported to smell like fresh cow-manure, so much so that it is known locally as the ‘Stink Bird’.

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The hoatzin is very popular with evolutionary scientists as they believe it is the missing link between reptiles and birds, similar to Archaeopteryx. For this reason they are becoming more well known to general public.

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 images.jpegHoatzins are not very good fliers as they have a small sternum and so do not have strong muscles for flapping their wings, after a large meal many hoatzins are seen resting with their beaks open and wings drooped.

 

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