Mauritius – Dodo bird whose predator was a man

Once upon a time, where the warm waves were washing the shore of the Indian Ocean,there lived Dodo bird, mastering the skills of enjoyment. Everything was calm and melodious. This bird was free and safe and had no reasons to use its wings.Its style of life excluded flying. It ate seeds and fruits found on the powdered sand of the island of Mauritius. In that sand, it also laid its eggs without fear that someone could take them. There were no predators or people. Time showed that its predator was a MAN.

The harmony and silence of Mauritius Island, as well as the carefree life of the bird Dodo, was shaken by the first travelers who stopped there. Prior to the construction of the Suez Canal, the beauty and extraordinariness attracted spice traders and young researchers who enjoyed their holiday in this paradise. They brought rats, pigs and monkeys along in their robust ships. This was the beginning of an end for the Dodo bird.

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The dodo bird eggs (“didius ineptus” or “raphus cucullatus”) immediately became a target for the newcomers from the animal world. The bird laid them naively and habitually on the ground, and the eggs diminished in time. Its habit, slowly but surely, became its wekaness and the greatest curse. The stories also say that in the absence of food, visitors to this island began to eat the meat of a Dodo. The Dutch stated in their written records that the meat of this bird was tough and tasteless, comparing it with an old shoe.

In the course of time, more precisely after a hundred years since the arrival of a man on the island of Mauritius, which was the only surviving place of this bird, it became a rare species. The last bird was killed in 1681. The Dodo bird became exinct!

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The 17th-century art works presented this bird as an exceptionally large and powerful. It had elongated and hooked beak and lavish feathers. However, the information from the canvas is not entirely relevant because the 17th century painting was marked by a hiberbolic view of the phenomenon. However, subsequent archaeological research confirmed that the bird Dodo was indeed a bird of a strong body structure, a bit stout. It was about 90cm high and weighed up to 18 kg. Its pale copy is considered a pigeon Nikobar, which scientists claim is its direct relative.

If you are interested in the story of the existence of this bird and if you ever find yourself in England, visit the Oxford University Museum of Natural History in London or the “The Booth Museum of National History”  in Brighton. In these museums, skeletal remains of Dodo are exposed. Until 2007, only certain parts of the skeleton of this bird were collected. At one moment, Dodo was even considered to have been a mythical creature. However, doubts on the existance of the bird disappeared when , in 2007, a complete bird skeleton was found. One specimen of the skeleton, according to CNN, was sold at an auction in London for $ 431,341. Passionate lovers of the bird whose life carries a powerful message, had tirelessly for years bundled the remains, bone to bone, until the state of Mauritius banned the export of parts of the skeleton of this bird.

Grb Mauricijusa
Mauritius , Coat of arms

My research on Dodo, was inspired by our wonderful trip to the island of Mauritius. Countless number of people have felt the same inspiration and I am sure unspeakable number of them will be inspired in the future as well. On this island everything is in the sign of the bird. It is also a national symbol of Mauritius. It is difficult to find a souvenir shop in Mauritius that has no corner dedicated to this extinct species.

Tambalacoque tree

A memory on Dodo is also preserved by a tambalacoque tree (Sideroxylon grandiflorum). The number of Dodo’s trees rapidly decreased after the disappearance of this bird. Mythology or not, it is still unknown, but it is believed that for germination of this plant it was necessary that its seed pass through a digestive system of a dodo.

Dodo souvenir from Mauritius

Biology also took an interest in the relationship between dodo and dodo tree, naming it a mutual relationship, where both individuals of different species have mutual benefit from a common relationship, such as the relationship of butterflies and flowers. Namely, this theory in the case of a Dodo bird is later denied.

And after all, the existence of the Dodo is a strong moral for all of us. Dodo – as a silent witness of evolution. A story of tolerance, greed, selfishness, and an example of how a person can alter nature. And then, when you find yourself on this magical island, know that with every sunset, which will enchant you, once in the past, Dodo gradually disappeared.

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“Believe in unicorn” is a divine universe that combines colour, scent and adventure. It consists of educational and emotional stories of faraway cities, exotic islands and all other fascinations the author experienced during her travels.

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