To celebrate World Albatross Day on 19 June, Live Ocean collaborated with a very important team including Science Alive Mātauranga, Taylormade Media and a host of others to connect New Zealanders to the story of the incredible Antipodean albatross and the dangers it faces at sea.
The Albatross is an iconic species of bird that has a strong connection with Ocean Race sailors, who see them in the inhospitable Southern Ocean.
TAKING FLIGHT - MEET 'WHITE 928'
In December 2019, Doyle Sails had the pleasure of supporting Live Ocean in their quest to save the Antipodean Albatross – Live Ocean is a New Zealand charitable trust founded by kiwi sailors Peter Burling and Blair Tuke.
Every cent of each donation made to Live Ocean goes towards sourcing and applying satellite tracking systems to each Albatross, which give the government and environmental experts access to the right information. Earlier this year at the Convention for Migratory Species, 130 member countries agreed to provide these birds with the same dire conservation status as mountain gorillas and snow leopards.
Doyle Sails is proud to have contributed to Live Ocean ‘buying’ a satellite tracker for one Antipodean Albatross and earlier this year we received the welcome news our satellite tracker had been successfully attached to ‘our’ Albatross – who has been named White 928.
White 928 is a 23-year-old male who lost his mate. Female Albatross fly at much higher altitudes, so their population has been much harder hit, meaning many of the males return to the Antipodes Islands looking for a mate each year, only to leave unsuccessfully again. White 928 and has previously had one long stint of six years at sea.
White has clocked one of the biggest distances, 46,55 km, since March 15 and got right into the Southern Ocean before heading to Chile for a feed.
These birds are New Zealanders – they nest and breed in the Antipodes Islands and then take flight in the Pacific. Albatrosses and other seabirds are ship followers and are accidentally caught when longlines are being set by commercial fishing vessels. It is thought climate change is driving the albatrosses to feed in more northern waters where large fishing fleets are concentrated.
Seabirds are considered an indicator of a healthy ocean – a live ocean. Yet in the last 14 years, two-thirds of the world’s breeding Antipodean albatross have died, declining from about 17,000 breeding birds in 2004 to 6,000 in 2019. We’re losing two a day on average. That’s 800 breeding birds dying every year unnecessarily. The population is in freefall, and unless immediate action is taken, we’ll lose this incredible New Zealand bird.
Fascinating Albatross Facts:
Go to www.liveocean.com to find out how you can help.