Yes, it’s hard to believe that just 165 years ago today we (by which I mean the human race; my ancestors were in the Pacific Northwest and have a pretty solid alibi) exterminated a species which had minimal food value and represented no threat. Quoth the wiki:
The last population lived on Geirfuglasker (“Great Auk Rock”) off Iceland. This island was a volcanic rock surrounded by cliffs which made it inaccessible to humans, but in 1830 the rock submerged, and the birds moved to the nearby island Eldey, which was accessible from a single side. When the colony was initially discovered in 1835, nearly fifty birds were present. Museums, desiring the skins of the auk for preservation and display, quickly began collecting birds from the colony. The last pair, found incubating an egg, were killed there on 3 July 1844, with Jón Brandsson and Sigurður Ísleifsson strangling the adults and Ketill Ketilsson smashing the egg with his boot.
I especially enjoy the juxtaposition with tomorrow’s holiday commemorating the best of what we are.