This insect caused millions of dollars in damage right around when the passenger pigeon was at its peak, but then suddenly disappeared never to plague the western US again. The plague in 1874 holds the Guinness Book of World Records title for the greatest concentration of animals ever speculatively guessed- nearly 12.5 trillion grasshoppers! But in only 28 years they would go from blacking out the sun to completely extinct. 




Locust: The Devastating Rise and Mysterious Disappearance of the Insect that Shaped the American Frontier by Jeffery A. Lockwood


Episode 431 of The Dollop: Year of the Locust


This month, I wanted to take the time to highlight what is happening at the US/Mexico border. I was fortunate enough to be able to speak with Laiken Jordhal, a Borderlands Campaigner with the Center for Biological Diversity. The environmental, cultural, and humanitarian crisis that is happening at the border is only getting worse while not being thoroughly covered by many major news outlets. The photo I used for the cover art for this episode depicts a dead buck who had struggled to find shelter on a 110+ degree day and collapsed against the border wall. This buck will likely not be the last casualty of this wall, as it is being built along major migratory paths for a myriad of wildlife.

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It was such a joy to speak with 'The Women in Archaeology Podcast' about the impacts to native cultures when traditional animal use is displaced. We travel across North America from west to east talking about the salmon, bison, and Passenger Pigeon. Two of these species recovered from near extinction and are still incredibly important to First Nations/Native American tribes in those areas today.

Women in Archaeology Podcast Episodes

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Hello, everyone! Thanks so much for taking the time to listen to the end of the month episode. This one is a bit longer than my usual updates, but with the new IUCN Red List coming out, there was a lot to cover. Stay tuned for the next full length episode which will be a crossover with the Women in Archaeology Podcast! 


As I state in the episode, if you're interested in using this podcast as a teaching resource, please reach out to me at


Buy me a Ko-Fi:



Smooth Handfish (RIP):


School Shark:


Little Penguin:


Bison (Alberta):


Bison (UK):


Rewildling Britain:


Suffolk Punch Horse:


Illegal Wildlife Poisoning:


Norway (Palm Oil and Deforestation):


IUCN Red List:


Smooth Handfish Cover Art via:

The Japanese sea lion, locally known as the Nihon ashika, disappeared sometime around 1974 at the latest. It was thought to simply be a subspecies of the California sea lion, but genetic mapping in 2003 led scientists to realize that we had lost another species completely. Just like the passenger pigeon, the ashika wasn't studied while it was alive. Find out what we do know about it in this episode.

If there are any papers that you would like to read but do not have access to, I highly recommend using as a way to view them. Science should be accessible, and the woman who runs that site is doing great work.


The Early History of the Fur Seals: The Beasts of the Sea by George William Steller in 1899


Itoo 1985:

Nakamura 1991:

Yamamura 1998:

Gerber and Hilbourn 2001:

Heath and Perrin 2009:

Blaricom et al 2013:

Shoda et al 2017:

Takase 2020:

The Sannai Maruyama Site:

Alaskan use of sea lions:

Rewilding talks:

Cover photo via Wikimedia Commons/Naturalis Biodiversity Center

A very quick update with only a few good news stories for the end of the month. If you are interested in purchasing a sticker to support the podcast, please reach out. Thanks for listening and please rate, review, and subscribe!


Smoky Mouse:


Asiatic Black Bear:

Giant Pacific Garbage Patch:

The cover photo is of an Asiatic black bear via Wikimedia Commons. The photo was originally taken by Shiv's fotografia in March 2018.

The loss of the passenger pigeon is one of the most well documented and well known modern extinctions. Their population went from billions to none in a little over 40 years. How did they go from blotting out the sun with their huge numbers to a single bird sitting in a cage in the Cincinnati Zoo? Find out in this episode.

Listen through to the end for an interview with the author of 'A Feathered River Across the Sky', Joel Greenberg. He talks about the book, how every day people can help with modern conservation, and what it was like to see an extinct species in person about 15 years before it was lost forever.

If you are interested in seeing a Passenger Pigeon in person, a list of museums where they are currently housed can be found on the Project Passenger Pigeon website:



A Feathered River Across the Sky by Joel Greenberg 

The Passenger Pigeon by Errol Fuller

Johnson et al 2010:

The cover photo for this episode is of Martha, and the photo is from Wikimedia Commons

Humans and rhinoceros have coexisted in Africa for thousands of years, but have only recently begun a massive decline. How did the Northern White Rhino go from a population that was steady enough to be hunted by the likes of Teddy Roosevelt in 1910 to only 2 110 years later? Find out in this episode. 

Donate to Ol Pejeta Conservancy:


Dodging Extinction: Power, Food, Money, and the Future of Life on Earth by Anthony D. Barnosky

The Fateful Journey: The Expedition of Alexine Tinne and Theodor von Hueglin in Sudan (1863-1864:


Ami Vitale's article about Sudan:

Boyle's article for Discover Magazine 2019:

Burchell's Original Specimens of White Rhinos:

Moodley et al 2018:

Rookmaaker and Antoine 2013:

Lang 1923:

Lang 1924:

Last Chance to Survive Project:

Hillman-Smith et al 2009:

Sydney 1965:

Vigne et al 2007:'s_rhinos

Vahala et al 1993:

Wei-Haas for Nat Geo 2015:

Operation Rhino:


Hey, everyone! I figured everyone might need some uplifting news this month, so this one is just all good news dealing with wildlife conservation. If you are interested in purchasing a sticker for the podcast, please reach out on Twitter or Instagram (@endlingpodcast) or by email ( The art was done by my friend Wes, who can be found on Instagram as @artandanimals_wesjames. Please be sure to rate, review, and subscribe. Thanks!


Rigid Cactus Corals:

Wolves in France:

Trail Cam Photos by Céline David Desjardins

Norfolk Island Owl:

Indochinese Tigers:!



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