THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: This Tuesday - September 1, 2015 - it will be 101 years since the death of Martha, the last of the passenger pigeons, once the most abundant bird on the North American continent, and, according to some ornithologists, possibly the world. Nature lovers in the capital city, in association with the Kerala union of working journalists (KUWJ), are organising a photo exhibition on the day to mark the anniversary and to generate awareness about the extinct avian species and also other animals that are on the verge of extinction.
The week-long exhibition will open at the Russian Cultural Centre, Van Ross Junction, at 5 pm on Tuesday. “Passenger pigeons were so abundant in North America that it is said, flocks would resemble dark clouds as they passed above. They got slowly annihilated with vast numbers killed for meat and loss of habitat,” C Rahim, KUWJ president and bird enthusiast, said.
The aim of the exhibition is to create awareness about the birds that are on the brink of extinction and the ecological need to protect them, he said. Martha, the last living passenger pigeon died at the Cincinnati Zoo on September 1, 1914. Passenger pigeons were never reported in India, but the organisers of the exhibition are hoping to use the bird as a symbol for avian and animal species that are facing the same fate as Martha and her kin. The photo exhibition will be under three sections, the first section will have old photographs of Martha and the passenger pigeons, the second will deal with other extinct bird species, the third will have 100 selected photographs on a variety of birds taken by local photographers. KUWJ also has plans to have a permanent gallery on birds at its office in the city, Rahim said.