Great Auk :
Mid-19th century, It was the only modern species in the genus Pinguinus - a group of birds that formerly included one other species of flightless giant AUK from the Atlantic Ocean region. It bred on rocky, isolated islands with easy access to both the ocean and a plentiful food supply - a rarity in nature that provided only a few breeding sites for the Auks. When not breeding, the Auks spent their time foraging in the waters of the North Atlantic ranging as far south as New England and northern Spain through Canada, Greenland, Iceland, the Faroe Islands, Norway, Ireland and Great Britain. This species is estimated to have had a maximum population in the millions, although some scientists dispute this estimate. The Great Auk was hunted on a significant scale for food, eggs and its down feathers from at least the 8th century. The Little Ice Age may have reduced the population of the Great Auk by exposing more of their breeding islands to predation by Polar Bears. The last colony of Great Auks lived on Geirfuglasker off Iceland. This islet was a volcanic rock surrounded by cliffs which made it inaccessible to humans. Today 78 skins of the Great Auk remain mostly in museum collections along with around 75 eggs and 24 complete skeletons.
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