The Albatross and Petrel Agreement keeps on file photographs of its 31 listed species to illustrate articles posted to its website and Facebook page and for use in posters, booklets and other materials that are produced from time to time. The majority of these photos has come from supporters of the Agreement who have generously allowed use of their work without charge.
With the build up to the inaugural World Albatross Day on 19 June this year, ACAP Latest News has found itself in need of new and fresh photos of the world’s 22 species of albatrosses. A special requirement has been making over a hundred of such photos available for the current collaboration with ABUN (Artists & Biologists Unite for Nature) so that participating artists can gain inspiration for their work
Three photographers have stepped up to help in the last few days. Michelle Risi is a biologist currently conducting monitoring research on albatrosses and other seabirds on Gough Island with the Gough Island Restoration Programme of the UK’s Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. She has contributed a suite of photos of the six albatross species that breed on Gough and Marion Islands. Michelle has written to ACAP Latest News on her motivation to help: “Working with albatrosses has changed my life, so now I am working to change theirs. I hope World Albatross Day can make people feel for albatrosses the same way they do for penguins. They are equally deserving of our awe and attention and are in desperate need of action as they face a conservation crisis.” Michelle made the original suggestion to ACAP to inaugurate a World Albatross Day. She is also a member of the Agreement’s World Albatross Day Intesessional Group.
Sooty Albatross chick, photograph by Michelle Risi
Wieteke Holthuijzen, a Board Director of the Friends of Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge (FOMA), has contributed photos of the three albatross species that breed on Midway Atoll in the North Pacific. She is currently an MSc student with Northern Illinois University studying Midway’s introduced House Mice Mus musculus that have taken to attacking the island’s albatrosses. The mice are due to be eradicated later this year. Her study concentrates on the mice’s diets and their broader ecological impacts on the atoll, which fits well with WAD2020’s theme of “Eradicating Island Pests”.
Wieteke bands a Laysan Albatross on Sand Island, Midway Atoll
A Laysan Albatross tends its downy chick, photograph by Wieteke Holthuijzen
Laurie on a South Atlantic island with a King Penguin colony in the background
The most recent contribution has come from USA-based Laurie Smaglick Johnson who been engaged in conservation photography for 25 years. She has photographed albatrosses in both hemispheres; her donated portfolio of stunning images covers 12 species, including a number of interesting ‘action shots’ taken both on land and at sea. Laurie, now retired, describes herself as an electrical engineer and corporate executive by education and career experience, a scientist by thought process, and a conservationist by heart. She tells ALN she has published a photographic book entitled Silent Conversations with Eastern Wood Warblers. Maybe one on albatrosses should follow?
A Waved Albatross pair interact on Española Island, Galapagos; photograph by Laurie Smaglick Johnson
ACAP is always ready to converse with wildlife photographers who feel, like Michelle, Wieteke and Laurie, that they would like to support the conservation of albatrosses and petrels with their work. The Agreement will inform anyone interested in helping of the notable gaps in ACAP’s growing collection of photographs.
With grateful thanks to Wieteke Holthuijzen, Laurie Smaglick Johnson and Michelle Risi, and to all the photographers who have allowed use of their photographs by ACAP in the last two decades.
John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 17 January 2020