It could be argued that over-hunting has been a problem for thousands of years, with the earliest incident being the Pleistocene megafauna extinction in North America. This was a mass extinction that occurred about 15,000 years ago, shortly after humans migrated to North America. While there are a few possible causes for this extinction, it seems clear that humans played a part, and it is reasonable to assume that over-hunting was at least partially to blame. Other possible contributing factors are climate change and disease.
In more recent times, one of the most famous historical incidences of overhunting is the dodo bird, which was hunted to extinction within a century of its discovery by humans in the 17th century. In the 19th and 20th centuries, a number of species throughout the world were hunted to extinction.
Likewise, overfishing has been a problem since at least the 11th century, and continues to this day.
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