Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels

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Read about recent developments and findings in procellariiform science and conservation relevant to the Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels in ACAP Latest News.

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SECOND UPDATE. Short-tailed Albatrosses George and Geraldine's second chick fledges

SECOND UPDATE

The Short-tailed Albatross chick is reported to have successfully fledged (click here).

"The thrill of seeing this rare bird fly off into the rising sun was amplified by raising my hopes for last year’s chick, the first-ever known to have hatched on Sand Island, which also disappeared from the nest site earlier than expected in late May.” - Jonathan Plissner.

AA09

The chick has now left its nest, crossed the island on foot and was filmed on the beach and photographed in the water.  Looks like George and Geraldine's second chick will fledge successfully.  Go the to the Friends Of Midway Atoll NWR Facebook page for more photos and short video.

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The 2019/20 Short-tailed Albatross chick gets plastic Red AA09 and metal USGS Bird Banding Laboratory bands

George and Geraldine are a pair of globally Vulnerable Short-tailed Albatrosses Phoebastria albatrus that breeds on the USA’s Midway Atoll in the North-Western Hawaiian Islands.  Last season they successfully reared their first chick to fledging.  Now it seems they are well on their way to repeating the success, with their 2019/20 chick being banded on 28 April.

Georg Geraldine 2018Madalyn Riley

Geraldine (left) and George on Midway Atoll in 2018, photograph by Madalyn Riley

“The almost four-month-old Short-tailed Albatross chick is now the size of the nearby adult Laysan and Black-footed Albatrosses.  Its legs are fully developed which allowed U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service staff to band the chick.  It became the second successful chick banded on Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge from the parents George and Geraldine.  The remote camera has revealed that the chick is still being fed by both parents, but the times between feeding visits will become longer until the time the chick will fledge, probably by the end of May - early June.”

The birds were seen back on Midway on 23 October last year, laid their egg on 28 October, which then hatched on 2 January.

Midway STAL chick 28 April colour band Narongkorn Thatsanangkun

Midway STAL chick 28 April metal band Narongkorn Thatsanangkun

 

 

 

 

 

Banding photographs by Narongkorn Thatsanangkun

 

Midway STAL chick 28 April Narongkorn Thatsanangkun

Read more about George and Geraldine here.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 05 May 2020, updated 31 May 2020

BirdLife affiliate Aves Uruguay joins over 50 environmental NGOs in supporting World Albatross Day

Aves Uruguay 

Aves Uruguay, the national affiliate of BirdLife International, has as its mission the research and monitoring of birds and their habitats in Uruguay.  The NGO was established in 1986 with the name Grupo Uruguayo para el Estudio y Conservación de las Aves (GUPECA) in order to bring together people linked to ornithology, both researchers, teachers and students of biological sciences, as well as fans of birds.

The NGO has this week joined with other Birdlife partners and affiliates in Latin America, and from around the world, in supporting the inauguration of a World Albatross Day, bringing overall support for ‘WAD2020’ to over 50 environmental bodies.  The society’s Communication Team has written to ACAP Latest News describing the activities it has planned for today, notably a conference “The Albatross in Uruguay: their Biology and Conservation”, which is intended to be published.  In addition, informational materials and graphics are being shared through social networks.  ACAP Latest News notes with approval how Aves Uruguay has added the ‘WAD2020’ logo to its own on its Facebook page to attract the public's attention.

Black browed Albatross Marcos de Campo

Black-browed Albatross in Uruguayan waters, photograph by Marcos de Campo

Uruguay is one of 13 Parties to the Agreement, having become a member on 1 Jan 2009 by accession (click here).  The country hosted the Eighth Meeting of ACAP’s Advisory Committee (AC8) in Punta del Este during September 2014.

With thanks to Marco de Campo and the Communication Team, Aves Uruguay.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 19 June 2020

Day Five of ‘World Albatross Week 2020’. Featuring Artists & Biologists for Nature

  World Albatross Day 3

By Grisselle Chock, Artists & Biologists for Nature for World Albatross Day 2020

ACAP Latest News is particularly pleased to have been able to collaborate with Artists & Biologists Unite for Nature (ABUN) on its 30th Project earlier this year.  The project’s task was to paint and draw the world’s 22 species of albatrosses that could then be used as online images to help raise awareness of the inaugural World Albatross Day on 19 June.  No less than 77 artists produced 324 paintings and drawings for ACAP’s use – far more than was ever expected.  To round off ‘World Albatross Week 2020” here are just two of the works.  More may be viewed here.

Grisselle Chock, who painted the three portraits above, has written to ACAP Latest News on the occasion of today’s World Albatross Day: “I am an artist residing in Berea, Ohio, USA.  I was trained first as a painter and also as an illustrator and graphic designer.  I have an interest in nature conservation art and in doing my part to help threatened species around the world, which explains why I've joined ABUN.  I hope my small contributions can make a difference and bring awareness to the threats these beautiful creatures are facing.”

+ABUN Brazilian albatrosses hi res 

The second artwork depicts the 11 species of albatrosses that visit the waters of Brazil, compiled by ABUN artist Marion Schön from her colleagues’ work to acknowledge the help given by that country’s Projeto Albatroz to the project.  ABUN Founder, Kitty Harvill, herself domiciled in Brazil, writes: “Albatrosses that fly over Brazilian waters are featured here by the talented artists who have given generously of their time and talent to create artwork of them.”

ABUN has also produced a World Albatross Day video with specially composed music entitled ‘Flight of the Albatross’ and a poster with artwork from all 77 contributing artists to help ACAP draw attention to the conservation crisis that continues to be faced by albatrosses.

Explore the World Albatross Day section on this website, accessible from the home page, to see the several other ways ABUN artworks have been used to illustrate educational materials.

It is hoped that for ‘WAD2021’ next year ABUN will agree to take on the project of painting the other nine ACAP-listed species - seven petrels and two shearwaters.  The artists will need lots of red paint if they aim to depict a feeding scrimmage by giant petrels around a seal carcass!

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 19 June 2020

 

Raising the banner for World Albatross Day in Australia as global celebrations get going today

AAD WAD 2020 banner web
Christine Bogle, ACAP Executive Secretary and Kim Ellis, Director, Australian Antarctic Division, along with some socially distanced AAD colleagues, join in global celebrations of the first World Albatross Day on 19 June 2020.  Photograph by Simon Payne, Senior Digital Producer, AAD

 A year after ACAP first mooted the idea at its 2019 meeting and after 12 months of planning and awareness raising around the world, today we mark the very first World Albatross Day.  With Australia hosting the ACAP Secretariat it is fitting that ‘WAD2020’ celebrations started early in that country.  Christine Bogle, ACAP Executive Secretary, and Kim Ellis, Director of the Australian Antarctic Division, along with a few socially distanced AAD colleagues who included Australia’s Representative to ACAP, Jonathon Barrington, gathered to raise a banner at the AAD Headquarters in Kingston, Tasmania.

Christine Bogle writes: “The inaugural World Albatross Day comes at a time when the world has been turned upside down by a global pandemic.  I hope this crisis reminds us how much we must treasure the natural environment of which we are custodians.  To paraphrase the words of Sir Geoffrey Palmer (former New Zealand Prime Minister) who in May 1990 was speaking about whales, if we allow albatrosses to become extinct, how can we imagine ourselves capable of solving the many other environmental problems the world faces?”

The Australian Antrarctic Division adds its view: “Today we celebrate the first World Albatross Day that has been established to highlight the conservation crisis affecting these iconic species.  Australia has been at the forefront of albatross conservation over many decades.  The Australian Antarctic Division has undertaken field research, developed recovery plans, and engaged with the global community to protect threatened albatrosses.  The AAD will continue to support all efforts for albatross conservation, on this and every other day, especially through our long-standing close cooperation with the ACAP Secretariat, which is hosted by Tasmania in Hobart.”

 Anju Rajesh WAD2020

Artwork by Anju Rajesh, Artists & Biologists for Nature

Nathan Walker, Chair of ACAP’s Advisory Committee adds: “Albatrosses are amazing creatures that can glide effortlessly across vast oceans, but they are susceptible to pests on the islands where they raise their chicks, and can be caught accidentally by fishers.  World Albatross Day is a great opportunity to learn more about these beautiful birds and how we can reduce pest and human impacts on them.”

Senior Campaign Manager Alexia Wellbelove, of Humane Society International (an NGO that regularly attends ACAP Meetings as an observer), makes a sobering point: “In 2019 ACAP declared albatrosses were facing a conservation crisis and urgent action needed to be taken to protect populations.  COVID-19 risks the situation worsening for the albatross with critical meetings delayed or cancelled, and essential observers prevented from getting on board fishing vessels due to infection risk.”

ACAP will continue to work in these difficult times of a global pandemic to improve the conservation status of the world’s 22 species of albatrosses, as well as of the other ACAP-listed species.

Read more about World Albatross Day in ACAP’s media release in four languages and in the World Albatross Day section from this website’s home page – where you can find artworks, videos, games and competitions for children and adults alike.

With thanks to Jonathon Barrington, Australian Antarctic Division.  Jessica Fitzpatrick, Media Production Manager, Corporate Communications, AAD designed the banner.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 19 June 2020

Mexico’s Guadalupe Island gets a World Albatross Day banner

Gaudalupe 1 

Emmanuel Mendoza Pérez and Ariana Duarte Canizales display GECI’s World Albatross Day banner on Guadalupe, behind a Laysan Albatross chick close to fledging

A late, but welcome, entry in the World Albatross Day Banner Challenge arrived this week from Mexico’s Guadalupe Island, as reported to ACAP Latest News by Julio César Hernández Montoya, Director de Proyecto Isla Guadalupe of the Mexican environmental NGO, Grupo de Ecología y Conservación de Islas (GECI).

Guadalupe supports a growing population of Laysan Albatrosses Phoebastria immutabilis.

With Mexico displaying a ‘WAD2020’ banner, nearly all the countries that have breeding populations of albatrosses have helped raise awareness of the conservation crisis facing albatrosses in this way (see full list).  Mexico, which has four islands supporting breeding albatrosses, is not a Party to the Agreement, but representatives have attended ACAP meetings from time to time.

Gaudalupe 3

Spot the albatross!

The banner was made by Gabriela Fernández Ham of GECI; with thanks to Julio Montoya.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 18 June 2020