A population of billions

Something a little different today. I’ve used the example of the passenger pigeon in presentations as a species that had a huge migratory population that people believed could never disappear — but they did, with the last one dying in the Cincinnati Zoo in 1914.

Is there a parallel here to eels? I think there could be. In North America, both the passenger pigeon and American eel were the most numerous taxa of their kind (by biomass), the geographic ranges are fairly similar across the U.S. and Canada (with a smaller breeding range on the east coast for the pigeon), both species migrate in large groups, both species declined precipitously after only a few decades of concentrated hunting/fishing and suggestions to conserve the pigeon early on were not taken seriously.

Let’s hope history doesn’t repeat itself.

NY Times article: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/16/science/passenger-pigeons-extinction.html?emc=eta1&mtrref=undefined

Original research paper: http://science.sciencemag.org/content/358/6365/951.full

For those of you on Facebook, join the discussion here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/EelTown/permalink/1759535651017265/


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