Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Extinct - the Grounding of the SS Makambo

The final story in my series looking at the extinct birds that I stitched during last year's Ghosts of Gone Birds live art studio is perhaps the saddest of them all.  

The SS Makambo Casualty List
On 15 June 1918, the SS Makambo ran aground on Lord Howe Island, Australia.  Although just one passenger was killed, FIVE separate species of bird were casualties of the incident.  Their demise was not instantaneous; it took several days to re-float the vessel during which time black rats made it ashore and began their predation of these five endemic birds:
Lord Howe Gerygone (Rain Bird)
Lord Howe Thrush (Doctorbird)
Robust Whiteye (Big Grinnell)
Lord Howe Starling
Lord Howe Fantail
All of them entirely wiped out by the rat invaders let ashore by the navigational errors of the ship’s crew.

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