In Africa, mice multiply uncontrollably and eat birds: they will be destroyed

In Africa, mice multiply uncontrollably and eat birds: they will be destroyed

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Birds that are destroyed by mice

Mouse-Free Marion

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On the remote island of Marion, located between Antarctica and the Republic of South Africa, they are going to destroy all the mice accidentally introduced 200 years ago.

Rodents multiply uncontrollably through climate changeeat seabirds and cause great damage to a special nature reserve, informs AP.

Mice arrived on an island in the Indian Ocean on sealer ships in the 1800s and effectively became the first mammalian predators. Currently, global warming contributes to the increase of their population several times. So, from a cold and windy island, Marion turned into a warmer, drier and more hospitable “home” for rodents.

Mouse-Free Marion – a large-scale pest control project – is considered critically important to the ecology of the wilderness of South Africa.

Consequences of mice invasion

Consequences of mice invasion

Mouse-Free Marion

The organizers of the project plan to destroy all rodents in 2027. They will drop 550 tons of poison from helicopters. Pilots will be provided with precise flight lines, and the project team will be able to track the poison spray using GPS maps.

However, if at least one pregnant mouse survives, then the rodent colonies can reproduce again. The head of the project, Dr. Anton Wolfhardt, noted that mice can reproduce from about 60 days of age. Females can have 4-5 litters per year, each of which contains 7-8 babies.

The poison that will be used on the rodents is designed to not affect the island’s soil or water sources. So Wolfardt said that killing the mice should not harm seabirds and the environment.

According to rough estimates, Marion Island is home to over a million mice. They feed on invertebrates and, increasingly, seabirds — both nestlings and adults.

By the way, the phenomenon of seabirds being eaten by mice was recorded only on a few islands in the world.

Marion Island is home to globally significant populations of nearly 30 species of birds and rare intact habitat. For example, wandering albatrosses with a wingspan of 3 meters live there.

According to conservationists, if nothing is done about rodents, 19 species of seabirds will disappear from the island in 50-100 years.

Mice eat birds

Mice eat birds

Mouse-Free Marion

Scientists have tried to control mice on Marion Island in the past. For this, scientists bred five domestic cats in the 1940s.

However, by the 1970s, there were already about 2,000 feral cats on the island, which killed half a million seabirds a year. The cats had to be destroyed by injecting the cat flu virus and hunting the survivors.

We will remind you that the front line in Ukraine is also being watched rodent infestation.



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