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Mauritius Dodo

Mauritius Dodo lived on the Indian Ocean’s islands for many millenniums. At only two hundred years from the man’s arrival in this region, the birds disappeared. Mauritius Dodo with its unusual aspect is one of the most popular species that disappeared. The usual English took the name of this animal in the expression: ‘dead, like the Dodo bird’. The big feet, the stubby wings, the short neck and the incredibly thin and curved beak it offers the Mauritius Dodo a comic look. The heavy and chubby body is completed by a short tail made by a whisk of feathers. Since, it had no enemies to be afraid of the Mauritius Dodo lost its flying ability. This is a frequent phenomena meet at the insular birds.

While, the other birds unable to fly were tireless runners, the Mauritius Dodo was moving waddle, like a duck. At the man arrival on the Mauritius and Reunion Islands, there were many birds. Despite this, there are few things known about them. The alimentation was vegetarian, they use to eat rough seeds also and for an easy digestion, they were swallowing little rocks. According to the writings, these birds had a woo dance accompanied by wings moves, and the pairs used to spend long periods together.

Dodo in Mauritius

The Mauritius Dodo laid one egg in the nest made of grass, in the woods. The baby was taken care of by both parents. Although the Mauritius bird is related to the today dove, the first people that came to these islands had never seen something similar. They call it swan with forelock or wild turkey. Since the birds don’t have enemies they get closer to the human settlements with no fear, becoming easy preys.Thousands of birds were killed especially for their meat. Although the writings from those times said that the Mauritius Dodo had not a very tasty meat, the sailors arrived after long trips used to eat the meat with pleasure. But this bird didn’t disappear just because of the excessively hunting. The colonials brought with them pigs, rats, cats, dogs for which the eggs of this bird were an easy prey.

In 1680, at about 170 years from the man arrival on the islands, the last Mauritius Dodo bird disappeared. Mauritius used to have both wet and dry seasons and the Dodo bird probably was eating ‘too much’ in the wet seasons to survive in the dry season that was about to come. The contemporary reports talk about insatiable birds. The image of the Mauritius Dodo bird is on the island’s coat of arms. The first registration of the ‘dodaerse’ word appeared in the captain Willem van Westsanen journal, in 1602. Also, Thomas Herbert used the ‘dodo’ word in 1627 but it is not sure if he was the first. In 1507, the Portuguese visited the island but they didn’t specify something about dodo. According to the Encarta dictionary, the dodo word derives from the Portuguese word ‘doudo’ which meant crazy or stupid.