Cigarette lighters, bottle tops, a toothbrush and a toy soldier. A Black-footed Albatross and chick on Midway Atoll, after a photograph by Wieteke Holzhausen
The Albatross and Petrel Agreement has chosen the theme “Plastic Pollution” to mark the fourth World Albatross Day, to be celebrated on 19 June 2023 (WAD2023). The featured albatross species for this year are once more the North Pacific Black-footed Phoebastria nigripes and the Laysan P. immutabilis, along with the globally Endangered Northern Royal D. sanfordi endemic to New Zealand, and the abundant and widespread Black-browed Thalassarche melanophris. For the first three months of the year ACAP has once more been collaborating with Artists and Biologists Unite for Nature (ABUN) on its 43rd Project to produce artworks that will help increase awareness of the conservation plight facing the world’s albatrosses and support WAD2023. This the fourth collaboration with ABUN, resulting in 75 artworks by 31 artists, including no less than seven by Brazilian amateur artist Flávia Barreto - five of which are illustrated here.
A colour-banded Black-browed Albatross guards its chick on Bird Island in the South Atlantic, after a photograph by Erin Taylor
Flávia, who paints in watercolour, gouache and acrylic, lives in Nova Friburgo in south-eastern Brazil. She describes herself as an amateur artist and a retired civil servant. After retirement she decided there was still time to learn more and to dedicate her life to art. Being a lover of nature and animals, her art and interests have gradually evolved to drawing and painting threatened species.
Two Northern Royal Albatrosses interact at sea off New Zealand, after a photograph by Hadoram Shirihai
She writes to ALN: “Plastic pollution in the oceans is a global and urgent crisis threatening marine wildlife, food safety and human health. Albatrosses are direct victims of human conduct, as they may die or get injured by ingesting or getting entangled in plastic waste. We can help to raise awareness of governments, organizations and communities by contributing to conservation initiatives such as those of ACAP. As a member of ABUN I am glad to be able to contribute through my work to World Albatross Day once again and join the fight against plastic pollution.”
A Black-footed Albatross is surrounded by washed-up plastic bottles and fishing floats, after a photograph by Matthew Chauvin, The Ocean Cleanup
Squid, but also plastic? A Laysan Albatross regurgitates a meal to its chick, photograph by Hob Osterlund
With grateful thanks to Flávia Barreto, Kitty Harvill and Marion Schön of Artists and Biologists Unite for Nature and to Matthew Chauvin, Wieteke Holzhausen, Hob Osterlund, Hadoram Shirihai and Eric Taylor for the use of their photographs.
John Cooper, Emeritus Information Officer, Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels, 18 April 2023