The Extinction of the Stephens Island Wren


A 1907 illustration of the Stephen's Island wren by John Gerrard Keulemans. Public domain
A 1907 illustration of the Stephen's Island wren by John Gerrard Keulemans. Public domain

The extinction of one New Zealand bird species is often attributed to a single cat. While feline predation played a significant role in the end of the Stephens Island wren, the story is actually more complex.

Holly's Research:

  • East, K. Thalia and Michael R. East. “Ecological restoration and habitat relationships of reptiles on Stephens Island, New Zealand.” New Zealand Journal of Zoology. Vol. 22. Pages 249-261. 1995. Accessed online: http://www.globalrestorationnetwork.org/uploads/files/LiteratureAttachments/105_ecological-restoration-and-habitat-relationships-of-reptiles-on-stephens-island-new-zealand.pdf
  • Galbreath, Ross, and Derek Brown. “The tale of the lighthouse-keeper’s cat: Discovery and extinction of the Stephens Island wren (Traversia lyalli).” Notornis. Vol. 51. Pages 193-200. 2004. Accessed online: http://notornis.osnz.org.nz/system/files/Notornis_51_4_193.pdf
  • Harvey, Chelsea. “The Crazy Story of a Cat Named Tibbles Who Killed Off a Whole Species of Bird.” Business Insider. Dec. 30, 2014. http://www.businessinsider.com/tibbles-the-cat-and-stephens-island-wren-2014-12
  • Loss, Scott R., et al. “The impact of free-ranging domestic cats on wildlife of the United States.” Nature. January 29, 2013. https://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms2380
  • Marra, Peter P. and Chris Santella. “Cat Wars: The Devastating Consequences of a Cuddly Killer.” Princeton University Press. 2016.
  • “Stephens Island.” Maritime New Zealand. http://www.maritimenz.govt.nz/public/history/lighthouses/Stephens-Island/#content

Topics in this Podcast: 19th century, 20th century, science history, stuff you missed in history class show notes, show notes