Title: Are mice ecological replacements for rats, waiting in the wings following rat eradications?
[The answer is "probably, but nobody has really taken a good look at it."]
Author: Wanless, R.M. (University of Cape Town, South Africa)
Summary: A very illuminating talk on the plight of ground nesting endemic sea birds on Gough Island in the South Atlantic.
(scroll down for the gorgeous pics)
Look at the size of that chick!
Says Wanless: "Once one mouse has attacked an albatross, the blood seems to attract others. They gnaw into the chick's body, create a gaping wound and the chick weakens then dies after several days."
Then he showed a video of exactly that.
Horrible Horrible Horrible. There is no other word. The chicks do not fight back. Why is there no response? A dozen mice eating a chick alive. "And here is the mouse sticking its head into the body cavity to feast on the bird's internal organs."
No one is even baiting or putting out traps. They have no idea how many mice are on the island but they kill and eat Hundreds of Thousands of chicks per year.
Most of the afternoon was spent with my office door closed, occasionally pressing my cheek against the cool metal of the filing cabinet.