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The Effects of Technical Development, Market Expansion, Ecological Features, and Infirm Protective Policy on the Extinction of a Wild Life: A Case Study of Passenger Pigeons

  • Journal of Environmental Impact Assessment
  • Abbr : J EIA
  • 2010, 19(5), pp.483-495
  • Publisher : Korean Society Of Environmental Impact Assessment
  • Research Area : Engineering > Environmental Engineering

송명규 1

1단국대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

The passenger pigeon (Ectopistes migratorius) was a species of pigeon that was once the most common bird in North America. According to some ornithologists, the number of passenger pigeons is estimated as many as five to six billions at the time when the first Europeans arrived there. But this species became extinct in 1914. There were a multiplicity of causes in the extinction; first, the extension of telegraph lines and railroads into the Middle West of the USA beginning in 1850s, second, the loss of vast feeding,nesting, and roosting sites of the passenger pigeon due to the massive deforestation, third, the rapid population growth of the USA during nineteen century, fourth, the commercial exploitation of the species, and finally, the infirm and weak protective efforts. Some important lessons can be learned from the extinction of the passenger pigeon. First, it shows how much critical the public interest is for a successful conservational movement. Second, it illustrates the need for strong laws and practices in the protection of an endangered species from going extinct. Third, the fate of the passenger pigeon proves a very important principle in conservational biology. That is, for each species (bird or other animal) there is a minimum population to sustain the species. Ecologists generally believe that the extinction of the passenger pigeon was due to the loss of their numbers below the minimum owing to overexploitation.

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