How Did Dodos Become Extinct?


Quick Answer

The extinction of dodo birds is attributed largely to human activities. Dodos were large and flightless birds that lived on the eastern side of Madagascar. They lived and thrived on the island through the later part of the 17th century until the arrival of European settlers.

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Full Answer

On Madagascar, dodos had plentiful food supplies but very few natural predators. Therefore, their population levels remained quite strong, and the birds had enough resources to keep their population levels high. They continued to thrive in Madagascar through the late 1600s, when the arrival of European settlers quickly put an end to their reproductive success. With the settlers came competition for food, water and living space, as settlers soon outcompeted the native birds for berries, fish and other products derived from the forests and waterways. The settlers also converted the lands to grow agricultural crops such as sugar cane, tobacco and cotton. In the process, they destroyed the natural environments, including the homes and food sources, of the dodos, which had immediate detrimental effects. European settlers also brought domestic animals and livestock, such as cats, dogs, pigs and sheep. Predatory mammals (such as dogs) killed the dodos, while the herbivorous creatures consumed the same foods as the birds and took over their living spaces.

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