The extinction of the Dodo bird
The dodo bird inhabited the island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean, where it lived undisturbed for so long that it lost its need and ability to fly. It lived and nested on the ground and ate fruits that had fallen from trees. There were no mammals on the island and a high diversity of bird species lived in the dense forests.
In 1505, the Portuguese became the first humans to set foot on Mauritius. The island quickly became a stopover for ships engaged in the spice trade. Weighing up to 50 pounds, the dodo was a welcome source of fresh meat for the sailors. Large numbers of dodos were killed for food.
Later, when the Dutch used the island as a penal colony, pigs and monkeys were brought to the island along with the convicts. Many of the ships that came to Mauritius also had uninvited rats aboard, some of which escaped onto the island. Before humans and other mammals arrived the dodo had little to fear from predators. The rats, pigs and monkeys made short work of vulnerable dodo eggs in the ground nests.
The combination of human exploitation and introduced species significantly reduced dodo populations. Within 100 years of the arrival of humans on Mauritius, the once abundant dodo was a rare bird. The last one was killed in 1681.