Suffering the same fate as the Dodo and many Galapagos Tortoises, the docile and terrifically edible nature of the Steller’s Sea Cow (Hydrodamalis gigas) brought this gentle giant to it’s end at the hands of humans, in 1768.
On a diet of mostly kelp, individuals could attain a length of 9m (30ft), weighing in at ~10 metric tons. Strong social and parental bonds meant these animals were highly gregarious, accumulating in the island shallows of the north Pacific. Reports exist of sea cow groups attempting to ram hunting boats after the capture of an individual.
The closest relative of Steller’s sea cow – the Dugong – lives on in warmer Pacific waters.