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Let me tell you a little bit about the dodo. The dodo is a large flightless ground bird that lived on an island in the Indian Ocean called Mauritius. These fruit-eating animals had no predators and peaceful lives all to themselves until the arrival of European settlers in the late 17th century. The settlers found the birds to be unafraid of them, so they took advantage of the birds; many were killed for food. The settlers also brought other animals to the island, including pigs, cats, dogs and rats, who ate the eggs of the dodoes. All this, plus the destruction of their habitat, brought the dodo bird to extinction until the 21st century when Dr. Steve Stevenson of Animal Adventures Institute genetically engineered the first living dodo bird to be seen in the past 340 years or so, and to say the least, he's back with a punch!
Dr. Dodo now resides at Animal Adventures Inc. and now holds a degree in psychology (don't ask how he got it, him not being a human and all) and has mastered the martial arts of judo and Tae Kwon Dodo. “You see,” Dr. Dodo says, “ever since the dodo bird went extinct, myths have been popping up about my species. It took less than 200 years to get rid of us, and another 300 to mess up our reputation.” He went on to explain that the main consensus was that dodo birds are fat, lousy and dumb animals. “None of this is actually true,” Dr. Dodo says. “The myths that we are fat and lazy creatures comes from when some dodo birds were brought to captivity before we went extinct; they got practically no exercise (zoo exhibits were cramped and miserable places for animals before environment enrichment came along) and were overfed. So no wonder those birds were fat. However, this doesn't really reflect our true natures. In reality, we are pretty fast and relatively slim birds, only weighing 22-47 pounds in the wild.” Then Dr. Dodo explained the myth about dodo intelligence. “We're actually very intelligent as animals go, in fact, birds are generally very smart creatures. The reason why people today often associate us with the word 'dumb' is because when settlers first reached Mauritius, they saw we weren't scared of them when they approached us and figured we were too dumb to run away. It wasn't that we were dumb, but we hadn't experienced predators in hundreds, possibly thousands of years. So why would we need to run?”
It is because of these stereotypes that Dr. Dodo feels one of his life's missions is to change the way people view the dodo, which is why my trusty, junior photographer, Daniel P. Smithwater and I were at his apartment room to ask him about his plans. He is quoted for saying, “This is why I've decided to start hosting martial arts classes in the Animal Adventures Inc. cafeteria. This is where a devoted group of people and animals who want to master the martial arts can come to learn not only martial arts, but about the true side of the dodo.”
I then asked Dr. Dodo how martial arts were supposed to help change the view of the dodo bird. “Well, dodo birds are depicted as lazy and dumb, right?” he says. “If I can bring awareness to my group, people will see a dodo bird conducting energetic martial arts, I'm hoping they can see just how fit and agile we actually are. Many martial arts maneuvers are quite complex; one must have a very complex brain in order to make quick and necessary adjustments of the body in midair while staying aware of your surroundings.”
To start off, Dr. Dodo will be having his first class October 18th, 2014. If you'd like to join, be sure to stop by the Animal Adventures Inc. front desk for more information. Also be sure to tell all your friends and family about the plight of these poorly misunderstood birds.
“It's time to change the view of Raphus cuculattus around for the better,” Dr. Dodo said.
Written by: Mr. Smiley
Photographer: Daniel P. Smithwater
Edited by: Christian Ryan
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