Zombie Mice Infestation: Over 1 Million Bird-Eating Rodents to Undergo ‘Mass Extermination’ on Marion Island

Marion Island is being overrun by small yet ferocious mammals dubbed “zombie mice” that are known for eating albatross birds alive. Located in the Southern Indian Ocean, the island has been a site of struggle by the avians as the rodents have increased in population. This threatens the local ecosystem based on previous scientific evidence.

Amid the threat, conservationists are planning to eradicate the rodents on Marion Island once and for all.

In recent years, invasive mice species have overwhelmed albatrosses on Marion Island, where multiple members of the large seabird species are gnawed to death. The gradual threat posed by rodents has raised concerns amongst scientists. To address the problem, conservationists are considering conducting a mass extermination of the local mouse population by using helicopters carrying large amounts of rodent poison.

Zombie Mice Mass Extermination

Zombie Mice Infestation: Over 1 Million Bird-Eating Rodents to Undergo 'Mass Extermination' on Marion Island
(Photo : Photo by jen uppend on Unsplash)

The mass extermination of zombie mice includes the use of hundreds of tons of poison that is needed to be dropped on every part of Marion Island to ensure success, according to reports over the past week. The target of the mice eradication initiative, officially called the Mouse-Free Marion project, includes even pregnant mice, which are known for their ability to give offspring exponentially.

According to reports, albatrosses on Marion Island die due to several reasons, including lack of sleep and wounds from the mice attacks. Experts say the birds have not yet developed defence mechanisms against the predatory rodents, which regularly kill the unique, migrating seabirds that can travel for thousands of miles.

Also Read: Viral Video: Rats Overrun a Taco Cabana Kitchen in Texas

Marion Island Albatrosses

Albatrosses on Marion Island are also experiencing a wide range of anthropogenic and natural risks to their survival, in addition to the invasive mice species. The majority of these seabirds can be found in an area from Antarctica to South America, as well as in other parts of the world such as Australia, New Zealand, and southern Africa.

Furthermore, the white ocean birds also have a presence from Japan in East Asia to the states of Hawaii, Alaska, and California.

The gruesome threat is nothing new but has started to take its toll 200 years after mice were introduced by mistake in a remote island near Antarctica. Since then, the so-called zombie mice have multiplied out of proportion due to various factors, including climate change. In a study published in the journal Nature Africa in June 2023, the first evidence of significant Marion Island Albatross killings by mice were recorded in 2003.

Before 2003, the Marion Island mice are known for surviving only on insects and other vertebrates, including worms, according to the 2023 research paper. The greatest ecological threat surrounding the phenomenon is that the non-native mice are threatening the adult albatross population that uses Marion Island as a major global nesting site. As a result, researchers are constantly monitoring mice activity on the island.

Related Article: Invasive Mice Gnaws to Death Adult Albatrosses on Marion Island

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