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Getting to Know the Friends of Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge

Midway Atoll is a vital seabird conservation area where millions of birds go to breed and nest every year. Luckily, dedicated conservationists at the Friends of Midway Atoll work to preserve, protect, and restore the islands.

Midway Atoll is an isolated spot of land located on the far northern end of the Hawaiian archipelago. Due to the island’s location, approximately half-way between the US and Asia, it was an important Naval Air Facility until1993. Now, the island is a wildlife refuge and is home to Bonin Petrels, Endangered Laysan Ducks, and the world’s largest colony of Laysan Albatross. The surrounding marine area is also an important habitat for Endangered Hawaiian Monk Seals, Green Sea Turtles and Spinner Dolphins. To preserve the island’s biodiversity, The Friends of Midway Atoll (FOMA) was established in 1999. This amazing and dedicated group supports conservation projects on the islands and helps to preserve the area and restore the biological diversity.

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A sleeping Endangered Hawaiian Monk Seal on Midway Atoll. Credit: Gregg Howald/Island Conservation

Friends of Midway Atoll and partners are currently working on a project to protect nesting Black-Footed Albatross and Laysan Albatross from invasive mice. In the last few years, mice attacks have increased dramatically from the occasional incident to hundreds of attacks on nesting Albatross resulting in nest abandonment, injury, and death. This is a huge threat to the world’s largest Laysan Albatross colony which rely on the remote atoll to be a safe place where they can nest and raise their young. The Friends of Midway Atoll is a supporting partner in the effort to remove the mice and create a safe habitat for the seabirds. This is just one of many examples of the Friends of Midway Atoll’s inspiring work. If you’re interested in learning more about the Friends of Midway Atoll and the Midway Seabird Protection Project you can read their recent newsletter.

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Laysan Albatross who live on Midway Atoll, the worlds largest albatross colony, are under threat due to invasive mice. Credit: Kristi Lapenta / USFWS

Featured photo: Worlds largest Laysan Albatross colony on Midway Atoll. Credit: Andy Collins/NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries

About Island Conservation

Island Conservation prevents extinctions by removing invasive species from islands. To date, we have successfully restored 60 islands worldwide, benefiting 1090 populations of 399 species and subspecies. Working together with local communities, government management agencies, and conservation organizations, we select islands that have the greatest potential for preventing the extinction of globally threatened species.

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