CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - The Passenger Pigeon Memorial opened Monday at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden in an effort to educate visitors on the story of the passenger pigeon and modern wildlife conservation efforts.
At one time, there were billions of passenger pigeons in the world. However, hunting and habitat destruction led to the population depleting. The last known wild pigeon was killed in Ohio in 1900, officials said.
After that, a single captive flock existed the Cincinnati Zoo. Several breeding attempts failed, and by 1910, a lone female named Martha remained at the zoo.
When Martha died Sept. 1, 1914, it was the first documented extinction of a species at the hand of man. Her body was frozen and sent by train to the Smithsonian in Washington D.C.
Since Martha's death, legislation was passed to help in conservation efforts.
The zoo's building that hosts the new memorial is the building Martha once inhabited and is also on the National Historic Registry. The zoo honored Martha Monday by a homing pigeon release.
Read additional information about Martha and the conservation effort of wildlife at www.cincinnatizoo.org.