Mon, Mar 21, 2011 - Page 15 News List

Tsunami killed thousands of seabirds at Midway
日海嘯席捲中途島 數千海鳥喪命

Thousands of seabirds were killed when the tsunami generated by the massive earthquake off Japan on March 11 flooded Midway, a remote atoll northwest of the main Hawaiian islands, a US wildlife official said Tuesday.

At least 1,000 adult and adolescent Laysan albatross were killed, along with thousands of chicks, said Barry Stieglitz, the project leader for the Hawaiian and Pacific Islands National Wildlife Refuges.

Many drowned or were buried under debris as waves reaching 1.5m high rolled over the low-lying atoll about four hours after the magnitude 9.0 earthquake struck.

The white-and-black feathered Laysan albatross is not in danger of becoming extinct. About one million of the birds live at Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge about 2,100km northwest of Honolulu, making it the largest Laysan albatross colony in the world.

But Stieglitz said the deaths could account for a significant share of Laysan albatross chicks hatched during the current season.

“We may see just a slight decline in breeding birds next year, the following year and the year after that,” he said. “There will be a gap in the breeding population when these birds that would have grown up this year, would have matured and started breeding for the first time.” The waves hit each of the three islands inside the atoll.

Stieglitz said many wildlife populations rebound from natural disasters like this. But he said the tsunamis aren’t helpful to species facing threats like climate change, a loss of habitat, and invasive species.

“When you start piling the natural catastrophe on top of invasive species invasions and all of these other things, it makes the population a lot less resilient and more susceptible to extinction,” he said. “It’s rather unfortunate timing, in our eyes. Not that there is ever a good time for this, but there are better times and worse times. And in this era, this is a worse time.”

(AP)

TODAY’S WORDS 今日單字

1. become extinct v. phr.

滅種 (mie4 zhong3)

例: The dinosaurs may have become extinct millions of years ago, but there is still a lot of interest in them.

(恐龍可能已在數百萬年前滅種,不過世人對恐龍的興趣依然濃厚。)

2. account for v. phr.

對…負有責任;說明 (dui1…fu4 you3 ze2 ren4; shuo1 ming2)

例: The teacher said they asked for a day off, so that would account for most of the students not being here.

(老師說他們請求休假一天,所以這說明大部分學生不在這裡的原因。)

3. tsunami n.

海嘯 (hai3 xiao4)

例: “Tsunami” is originally a Japanese word, but it has become incorporated into many Western languages.

(“Tsunami”(海嘯)本來是個日文字,不過它已併入許多西方語言。)


美國野生動物官員週二表示,三月十一日的日本超級強震引發的海嘯侵襲中途島,造成數千隻海鳥死亡。中途島是夏威夷群島西北方一座偏遠的環礁。

夏威夷和太平洋群島國家野生動物保護區計畫負責人貝瑞‧史蒂格里茲表示,至少有一千隻黑背信天翁成鳥與幼鳥,以及數以千計的雛鳥喪生。

規模九點零的地震發生後約四小時,一點五公尺高的海浪襲擊地勢低平的環礁,造成許多海鳥淹死或埋在瓦礫堆下。

有白黑羽毛的黑背信天翁,並未因為這次的災難而滅種。大約有一百萬隻鳥兒住在距離檀香山西北方兩千一百公里的中途島環礁國家野生動物保護區,這裡也是世界最多黑背信天翁的聚居地。

不過史蒂格里茲說,這次(事件)造成大半在這個季節孵出的黑背信天翁雛鳥死亡。

他說,「我們可能在明年、後年與大後年察覺到種鳥的數量略為減少。」他說,「鳥的繁殖數量將會在今年發育完全的鳥繁殖後,出現一個『斷層』。」

史蒂格里茲說,許多野生動物在類似這次的自然災害後,呈現數量回升的現象。他說,不過海嘯對於受到氣候變遷、失去棲息地與入侵物種等威脅的物種並沒有幫助。

他說,「當你開始將一連串的自然災難加諸在入侵物種與這類物種上,會使這個群體適應力降低並更易受到滅絕的威脅。」他說,「在我們眼裡這是相當不幸的時間點。我並不是說有時候這會是好的,而是在不好的情況中也有較好與較壞的。在這個時刻,這是更糟的時候。」

(美聯社/翻譯:林亞蒂)

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