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Officials say 110,000 albatross chicks on Midway killed in tsunami

Federal officials are now estimating that more than 110,000 Laysan and black-footed albatross chicks – about 22 percent of this year’s albatross production — at Midway Atoll National Refuge in the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument because of last week’s earthquake in Japan.

Immediately following the March 11 quake and tsunami, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimated “tens of thousands” of albatross chicks have been lost along with 1,000 adult birds resulting from the tsunami that washed over Midway’s three low-lying islands March 10-11.

Federal officials said least 2000 adults were also killed.

Biologists also initially estimated that thousands of Bonin petrels were lost, but they have since been unable to confirm a number due to the species’ behavior of nesting underground. Their burrows are not as extensively mapped as the albatross nests. 

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