This is indeed quite a sad story of the great auks which became extinct in the 1800s. These birds were also called ‘garefowl’ and belonged to the family of ‘Alcidae’.
They were of around 30 inches (75 cm) in length and lived in the Northern Atlantic coasts as well as in Spain, Italy and Florida.
They also used to be great swimmers but weren’t fast runners. They were very similar to penguins. Back in the day people used to mistake them for penguins as well. As they were clumsy walkers, so they easily became the prey for other animals and hunters.
Their population started to become less by the mid-1600s due to hunting. Although scientists tried their level best to do something to protect this species but nothing worked out.
In July 1840, three men in Scotland thought that the bird was a witch and because of the bird, the storm wasn’t going away. The men tied up the bird and beaten it to death.
The last pair of great auks were found on the island of Eldey on July 3, 1844. The pair of great auks were incubating eggs and some assistants on order of a merchant who wanted to use specimens of the birds strangled the birds and also smashed the eggs.
Currently scientists are working to bring the bird back to life by using genes retrieved from fossils and preserved organs.
Source : elitereaders