Midway Atoll is a 2.4-square-mile atoll in the North Pacific Ocean between North America and Asia. It is an unincorporated territory of the United States and is now referred to as a National Wildlife Refuge. There is a fascinating history attached to Midway, I suggest looking into it. Midway is also home to the largest breeding colony of Laysan Albatross and at one time photo groups were allowed there. I was on one of those scheduled groups, however while I was on a ship in the Southern Oceans, I got word that the government shut Midway down— it has not reopened.
The “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” is a massive floating island of plastic, now 3 times the size of France. It is located between Hawaii and California. A bulk of that plastic washes up on Midway; the birds then ingest it and are dying from it.
If the thought of that plastic makes you sick, then the mouse problem on Midway will gross you out. Biologists and volunteers have discovered (in 2015) that house mice are attacking and killing Laysan and Black-footed Albatrosses on the atoll.
I first learned about how mice jump onto or burrow into the heads of albatross and literally eat them alive, after talking to a seasoned ornithologist. He said when mice are on their heads they are helpless as they can’t get them off, the birds have no defense. The mice also attack their chicks right in front of them, they don’t know what to do—they just watch. To say that I was shocked was an understatement. It hit me hard and stayed with me. But never in my wildest dreams did I ever think that the albatross on Midway would fall victim to this!
It has gotten so bad that the Washington Post wrote an article on the deadly rampage. The images and videos online are gruesome. This page shows a lot of the carnage and is very graphic-so don’t click on it if you are not willing to see it. Nat Geo has an article HERE. Midway has their own page that describes in detail the US Government’s plan for eradication. Talk about paradise gone wrong… ugh.
I recently read a short article by Frans Lanting on Facebook, special thanks to both Frans and Chris Eckstrom for alerting me to this mouse problem and supporting the eradication efforts. If you would like to get involved please visit their site HERE. Please share.