November 23, 2020

Episode 10 - The Moa

Hello, everyone, and thank you for your patience while I moved back to the US! In this episode I cover the extinction of the moa. While we think of the moa as a giant bird-and rightly so- it is imperative to realize that there were actually 9 species of moa living on New Zealand when humans first arrived to the islands. What happened that could have brought an entire family down? Find out in this episode!


Editing for this episode was provided by Kalie Shaw. For more information about editing, you can contact her at

Kalie's Demo Reel and Credited Editor Roles


Books: Quest Aotearoa by John Tasker

Moa Browsing Evidence:

Baby Moa Growth Rates:

Wood et al 2008:

Allentoft et al 2014:

Huynen et al 2014:

Other sources:


The cover art for the episode is a recreation of Megalapteryx (Upland Moa) by George Edward Lodge in 1907. Photo via Wikimedia. 


This month, I cover the removal of an invasive species from Hawaii, the destruction of nearly the entire population of Tiehm's Buckwheat in Nevada, and the hard work done to remove invasive predators from a massive area in Australia's Mallee Cliffs National Park in order to restore native species, and an update on the California Condor populations after the wildfires across the western US. 

I was also fortunate enough to speak with Dr. Stephen Ngulu, Head Veterinarian at Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya who was kind enough to provide me an update on Najin and Fatu. Eggs were collected from both females last month. The plight of the Northern White Rhino is covered in Episode 5 of the podcast. 

Donate to help restore Big Sur Condor Sanctuary:

Donate to help save the Northern White Rhino:



Pampas Grass:

Tiehm's Buckwheat:

Mallee Cliffs National Park (AUS):

California Condors:


Cover photo of Tiehm's Buckwheat via Wikimedia Commons

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.

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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

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