Brown, Portman Announce Senate Passage of Resolution Marking the 100th Anniversary of the Extinction of the Passenger Pigeon

Cincinnati Zoo Was Home To Martha, the Last Known Passenger Pigeon, Who Died September 1, 1914

WASHINGTON, D.C.Today, U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Rob Portman (R-OH) announced Senate passage of a resolution calling attention to the 100th anniversary of the extinction of the last known passenger pigeon. The resolution passed the Senate by unanimous consent.

“Once the world’s most abundant bird, the passenger pigeon is now extinct – illustrating the need for increased awareness and efforts to protect biodiversity among species,” Brown said. “As our world continues to feel the effects of global warming and climate change, more species will continue to be threatened. That’s why we must prioritize conservation and sustainability to help prevent other plants or animals from suffering the same fate as the passenger pigeon.”

“One hundred years ago, Americans across the eastern United States could have looked up into the sky and seen it filled with passenger pigeons,” Portman said. “Now they are extinct after being the victim of overhunting and habitat destruction. The loss of this species is one of the greatest examples of what can happen if we are not committed to conserving our wildlife. We must learn from their example, and I am proud that this Resolution brings light to this important issue.”

“As Director of the Cincinnati Zoo, I was heartened to learn that the United States Senate has passed a resolution on the 100th Anniversary of the extinction of the passenger pigeon.  Martha, the very last of her species, died at the Cincinnati Zoo in 1914, and has since served as an alarm call for more thoughtful use and protection of our natural resources,” Thane Maynard, Executive Director of the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden said. “With the extinction of the passenger pigeon for an example, American conservation efforts have long lead the way in wildlife conservation, resulting in the comeback of many species, including the bald eagle, American alligator, peregrine falcon, California condor, gray whale, and gray wolf.  My thanks go out to Ohio Senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman for putting forth this important resolution calling attention to the value of conservation and sustainability.”

According to Smithsonian Magazine, the passenger pigeon was once believed to constitute 25 to 40 percent of the total bird population of the United States.  However, due to human pressures, the species was pushed to extinction in the early 1900s. The last known individual passenger pigeon, named Martha, died at the Cincinnati Zoological Gardens in 1914.  

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Press Contact

Meghan Dubyak/Ben Famous (Brown) 202-224-3978

Caitlin Conant/Michael Haidet (Portman) 202-224-5190