Drawing of a man from 1844 wearing a mask of an extinct Great Auk by Jenny Kendler
The Great Auk
From the Extinction Portraits series
Graphite on paper in painted frame with vintage ribbon
11 x 9 in., framed

Pinguinus impennis
Extinct 1844

Great Auks were hunted, at least since the 8th century, for food and down. Their population finally collapses as increases in human populations caused hunting to rise to new levels. Ironically, bird-loving egg collectors also helped to hasten their demise. Though it sounds very strange, the last breeding pair in Great Britain was apparently killed by a couple who believed it to be a witch.