Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Mice threat to rare birds

Supersize mice, which are eating chicks alive, are threatening the world’s most important seabird colony, on the U.K. overseas territory of Gaugh Island in the South Atlantic. An estimated 700,000 mice working in teams attack defenceless albatross chicks 300 times their size, gnawing away at them from below until they die of wounds. About a million petrel, shearwater and albatross chicks are thought to have been killed this year by a breed of mouse mush smaller that the birds it devours. Gough Island is part of the Tristan da Cunha group of island and a world heritage site with a population of 10 million birds. The mice are believed to have arrived on the boats of whalers or pirates and learned their carnivorous behaviour.

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