satellite view from PMNM
E komo mai; welcome! Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge is surrounded by a lei of foam in the middle of the North Pacific; it's a beautiful, special place.

Not only are there albatross on Midway, but many other interesting kinds of wildlife, both on the land and in the sea. Please enjoy exploring FOAM, an educational blog actively done while on Midway from May through August 2010. Posts are added from off-Midway, as information becomes available. If you're interested in a particular topic, please use the search box or the alphabetical list of "labels" along the left side of the blog page.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Marine Debris INSIDE Albatross

Here's a post by me: Auntie Moana Laal--

Adult albatross ready to feed its chick
Have you ever had a really bad stomach ache?

Have you ever had something stuck in your throat?

Imagine having both at once, and maybe you'll have an idea of what it's like for our albatross chicks to get too much marine debris in their stomachs!

It's pretty awful!  You can read about it in a reader's theater script about me "saving the day."  I won't spoil the ending by telling you how I saved the day, but I'm sure glad I did.  My nephew Kawika, Jr. almost died from too much plastic in his stomach!

Laysan Albatross carcass filled with plastic marine debris.
You see, albatross chicks are accidentally fed plastic by their parents, who have accidentally picked up plastic marine debris that's floating on the ocean.  I've made the mistake myself.  Sometimes a floating cigarette lighter looks like squid, and I eat the lighter.  Another time maybe one of my favorite foods, flying fish eggs, are stuck to a floating plastic bottle cap, and I swallow both.  Then, if I don't know I've made a mistake, I accidentally pass the plastic to my chick during feeding.  Auwe!

Let me tell you about a sad but important video made by my friend Paulo Maurin.   His 5-minute video "306 Punches" is about a Laysan Albatross chick on Kure Atoll that probably did die from swallowing too much plastic.  As you watch the video you see Cynthia Vanderlip, the Field Station Manager of Kure, performing an autopsy on the chick...and then you see how much plastic was inside that albatross!

Like I said, we saved my nephew Kawika.  The good news is that most albatross chicks don't die; they grow up to become adults, like me.  We can live for more than half a century, flying for hours over the beautiful ocean...but we need help.  Learn how you can help by visiting my cousin Makana, at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
Aloha; mahalo for your concern!

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