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Extinction: the story of the Dodo

Updated on December 24, 2016
The Dodo: Extinct since the early 1700's
The Dodo: Extinct since the early 1700's | Source

Extinction and risk of extinction

The Dodo has been extinct for more than three centuries now, thanks to man’s greed and selfishness. That is why we say ‘as dead as a Dodo.’ A few centuries from now, there will be a long list of other extinct animals making the saying ‘as dead as a Dodo’ seem like a cruel joke. The lion may be gone by then; the elephant may follow that route; the rhinocerous may go sooner - if we do nothing now but moan. In the month of June 2012, six lions were killed in one night by Maasai morans in Kenya because the lions had killed some cattle, sheep and goats. The question that immediately came to mind was – how many domestic animals equal one lion? In this human animal conflict, who will defend the rights of the Lion?

According to the Kenya wildlife service, Kenya is losing 6 elephants every week to poachers!

In January 2013, a family of eleven elephants were shot dead in a single day for their tasks. The wanton distruction boggles the mind since one of the elephants was a baby without any tusks. A few weeks later a poacher who had six tusks was eliminated by wardens while his accomplices escaped. Six tusks mean another three elephants had lost their lives due to man's greed for quick money by any means. This greed is fueled by demand in China and the far east where ivory is treasured for a variety of cultural reasons.

To the Maasai and other pastoralist communities, their domestic animals are worth more than wildlife. We can excuse them for reasoning that way. After all, it is their domestic animals that bring food directly on their tables. What they do not realise, is that wildlife is an important national resource that brings the country billions of shillings from the tourism industry. This money when added to funds from tax gives us roads, builds schools and hospitals besides meeting other development needs. It is an indirect income for every citizen. On the other hand, we owe it to the rest of the world to conserve wildlife and their habitats as a duty to humankind. The Kenya Wildlife Service is doing a commendable job, but todate, no body has been prosecuted for the elimination of six lions in one night in spite of their pictures being front page news in the press. That is what inspired me to pass on a conservation message.

I chose to make a Dodo because it is known the world over as the icon of extiction.

The wr6 metal rod amarture: Black - main body rod Red - legs rods Blue - reinforcement rods Orange blobs - welding points
The wr6 metal rod amarture: Black - main body rod Red - legs rods Blue - reinforcement rods Orange blobs - welding points | Source

How I made the Dodo

1. I folded an R6 metal to form the backbone, round the belly to the neck and beak (shown in black). I formed two more pieces to form the legs (shown in red) and then welded them to the backbone piece with three more rods (shown in blue).

2. I stuffed the amarture with newspapers by wrapping with masking tape around the belly and neck. I used wood glue and tape to form bulges where required until the form of a Dodo was complete leaving the beak and legs for another material.

3. When the form was able to stand, a fixed in on a block of wood and started to model the beak (bill) and one of the legs with plastacene.

4. I made a mold of the head and leg first with silicone latex, then covered the silicone with fiberglass backing.

5 After separating the mold pices, I made a cast with fibre glass and fixed the head on to the form. Since I had only made one leg, I cast it twice.

6. After fixing the head and both legs, I applied paper glue to the finished form and stack coton wool all over. This would give the bird a soft pad for the skin.

The armature well staffed with paper and the head and leg sculpted in plastacene
The armature well staffed with paper and the head and leg sculpted in plastacene | Source

7. Since there was no way of getting real Dodo feathers, I skined five chicken carefully to preserve the feathers. Before I was ready to apply the skins, I stored them in a freezer. This is how I treated the skins:

a. I first applied table salt to soak up the water in the skins after removinga all fleshy pieces,

b. After brushing away the salt, I washed the inside with soap and water to remove fats. I took care not to soak the feathers.

c. Lastly I applied Boric Acid on the skins to preserve them from insects. In all I used four hens and one cock for a Dodo that stands at 64 cm tall.

8. I find out that in many areas I had to use bits and pieces of the chicken skin. I therefore covered the top, sides and underbelly of the form with a fabric so that I could stitch large skins onto the form, or stick smaller ones with super glue.

This is the message I am passing with my Dodo: If we kill all our lions, the future generations will use goat skins or other domestic animals to reconstruct them. Wildlife is priceless

The Dodo - Raphus cucullatus

The Dodo was a flightless bird that lived in the Seychelles. This is an island in the Indian Ocean near Malagassy (Madascar). The Dodo nested on the ground without fear since it did not have any predators. Things changed around the 1500’s when Portuguese sailors discovered the island. The last Dodo was seen in late 1600 or early 1700 after being hunted to extinction by man and the dogs he had introduced.

The Dodo’s closest relative is the pigeon and dove.It stood at roughly one meter (3.3 feet with an average weight of 20 kgs (44 lbs). Dodos ate mainly fruits, seeds and nuts, but like all birds, it probably ate insects and small mammals as well. The beak was 23 cm (9 inches) long without a tongue.


Submit a Comment

  • Emmanuel Kariuki profile imageAUTHOR

    Emmanuel Kariuki 

    5 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

    Hi richardbrown81.

    Perhaps the situation in Kenya is unique since the Government and private ranches make great efforts to conserve wildlife. The problem is poaching, especially for animals with tusks like elephants and rhinocerous. The trade is fuelled by East Asian countries, especially China where the tusks fetch unimaginable dollars per kilo, rhino horns are particularly in demand as they are supposedly 'aphrodisiacs' when powdered. In the last four months over 70 elephants have been lost to poachers. The juction to extinction is not too far off. The international community needs to help with surveilance to stop the poachers; closing markets for wildlife products and where exporting live endangered animals is rife, stopping it completely . Thanks so much for commenting.

  • richardbrown81 profile image

    Richard Brown 

    5 years ago from Spokane, Washington

    i have written on the subject and it seems that endangered species only hope is for a dramatic change in international policy. many countries mostly third world countries have developed a system that encourages countries to protect their nativve species. the international community is late in realizing that the only way to effectively preserve endangered species is not to export them. the current system based on end market controls is untenable. the countries were the animals and products are most valuable, are the least likely to prevent their import. the most effective plans make it profitable to preseve the species in the wild, and have been used with great success everywhere it's been tried.

  • Emmanuel Kariuki profile imageAUTHOR

    Emmanuel Kariuki 

    5 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

    Just last month, 11 elephants were shot on a single day in Kenya. If we are not careful, the Dodo will not be last to go. As dead as an Elephant - just imagine that - thanks for your visit to my hub DDE

  • DDE profile image

    Devika Primić 

    5 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

    Interesting you know I was surprised when I first heard about the Dodo, yo have have shared valuable information here thanks

  • Emmanuel Kariuki profile imageAUTHOR

    Emmanuel Kariuki 

    6 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

    H0w true. It is said that money made man mad. In spite of there being such a shooting order, the money is usually enough for the police and government officials to look the other way. It has been intimated that poachers are actually in the employ of rich influential characters.

    And thanks for the fan mail - it has fuelled me to keep going.

  • Ann1Az2 profile image


    6 years ago from Orange, Texas

    Unfortunately, it all boils down to m-o-n-e-y. I think it's horrible. When will man realize that life is more important than ivory tusks? It takes almost 2 years for an elephant to have a baby. How heart breaking. They ought to shoot poachers on sight.

  • Emmanuel Kariuki profile imageAUTHOR

    Emmanuel Kariuki 

    6 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

    Thanks for your detailed comment, Ann1Az2 .

    Kenya is said to lose 6 elephants a week to poachers. At that rate, I don't know how long it will take to lose them all. When you travel along the rift valley, the wanton distruction of forest is horrendous and one still sees smoke coming from inside presumably from illegal charcoal burners. Two weeks ago poachers killed a pregnant elephant and removed the tasks - it is all heart rending. The most I can do is to write about it and I encourage you to continue creating the awareness in your articles. I just learned a few days ago that the Indian Lion still exists at Gir National park - 350 in number.

    If humans didn't rate themselves very highly, we would let animals have titles to their land.

    Thanks again for your comment and vote.

  • Ann1Az2 profile image


    6 years ago from Orange, Texas

    An ingenious way to make a statue of a bird, and a Dodo bird, at that! I've written articles on endangered species myself - it's really sad what's happening to our wildlife and the rain forests - our terrible impact on the rain forests affects wildlife who live there and creates even more imbalance. To think that some of our biggest and most beautiful trees are endangered because man has been steadily chopping them down just makes me sick. And then there is the elephants and lions, like you say. Perhaps if we didn't interfere with their habitats, the lions wouldn't be after the livestock. And to kill a magnificent elephant just for the tusks is horrible, especially since artificial ivory is better anyway - it doesn't yellow. Anyway, enough ranting - needless to say, I liked your hub! Voted up.


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