17 Mar 2011

US wildlife officials say thousands of seabirds killed in tsunami waves

10:01 am on 17 March 2011

U.S. wildlife officials say thousands of seabirds were killed when tsunamis generated by last week's massive earthquake off Japan flooded Midway, a remote atoll northwest of the main Hawaiian islands.

The project leader for the Hawaiian and Pacific Islands National Wildlife Refuges says at least 1,000 adult and adolescent Laysan albatross were killed along with thousands of chicks.

Barry Stieglitz says many were drowned or buried under debris as waves reaching five feet high hit the low-lying atoll.

The tsunamis washed over 60 percent of Eastern Island, an islet of nearly 370 acres inside the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge.

Waves also covered 20 percent Sand Island, an island in the atoll that's nearly four times the size of Eastern.