Humanity's Role In Animal Extinctions
Moa were gigantic, flightless birds that once roamed New Zealand. Before humans arrived in the region, the birds were preyed upon by Haast's eagles. Their population took a dive when Māori hunters targeted them for food. Steller's sea cows met a similar fate when hunters realized that the docile, enormous animals yielded not only meat, but also oil and hardy skins. The sea cows were wiped out within 27 years of being discovered by Europeans in the Russian Far East.
Key Facts In This Video
Giant moa were flightless birds that stood about 12 feet (3.6 meters) in height. (2:02)
Steller's sea cows were obliterated by hunters within 27 years of being discovered. (4:39)
Between 1870 and 1900, the commercialization of pigeon meat resulted in massive hunts for passenger pigeons. (9:31)