Lost Land of the Dodo

The Ecological History of Mauritius, Réunion, and Rodrigues

Anthony Cheke and Julian Hume

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A fascinating new perspective on the extinction of the ill-fated dodo and many other native species on the Mascarene Islands

Uninhabited by humans, the Mascarene Islands of the Indian Ocean were once home to an extraordinary range of birds and reptiles: giant tortoises, parrots, skinks, geckos, burrowing boas, flightless rails and herons, and, most famously, dodos. But the discovery of the three isolated islands in the 1500s, and their colonization in the 1600s, led to dramatic ecological changes. The dodo became extinct on its home island of Mauritius within several decades, and over the next 150 years most native vertebrates suffered the same fate. This fascinating book provides the first full ecological history of the Mascarene Islands as well as the specific story of each extinct vertebrate, accompanied by Julian Hume’s superb color illustrations.

Anthony Cheke, an expert in the chronology and interactions of introduced animals and plants with the extinction process of native species, led the British Ornithological Union expedition to the Mascarene Islands in 1973 and has returned many times since. He lives in Oxford, England. Julian Hume, renowned for artistic re-creations of extinct species in their natural habitats, has published extensively on the paleontology of the Mascarene Islands. He is a research fellow at the University of Portsmouth and the Natural History Museum in London. He lives in Portsmouth, England.

“An outstanding book on the Mascarene Islands, famous for their unique but devastated native wildlife. No other book covers the entire ecological history of the Islands.”—Roger Safford, BirdLife International

“A landmark volume on island biogeography, Lost Land of the Dodo should be required reading for anyone with an interest in island extinctions and conservation.”—Joanne H. Cooper, Bird Group, Department of Zoology, The Natural History Museum, London

"A scientific resource that will long be essential to anyone studying evolution and conservation of insular organisms."—Storrs L. Olson, Science

"Anyone interested in biogeography will want this book!"—Scienceblogs.com

"Impressively researched. . . . Richly illustrated. . . . A lovely yet tragic story that holds many general lessons for conservation biology in an increasingly fragmented world. . . . Highly recommended."—Choice

"Readers looking to transport themselves back in time to observe the rapid unraveling of a pristing island ecosystem should jump at the chance to study Lost land of the dodo."—Sarah Karpanty, Ecology
ISBN: 9780300141863
Publication Date: September 23, 2008
Publishing Partner: Published in association with T&AD Poyser / A&C Black Publishers Ltd.
480 pages, 7 x 10
16-page color insert, 89 b/w, 20 maps