Re: Albatross race update

Subject: Re: Albatross race update
Date: Tue, 25 May 2004 13:07:28 +1000

There's been a lot of speculation about disappearing albatross recently.  I may as well have my two bobs worth.

I don't think we can blame the transmitters for the possible demise of these birds.  There's been a lot of research done on albatross using similar equipment, and more.   Nor should we jump to the conclusion that long lines have snared the birds.

Consider for a moment that the birds have recently fledged and are roaming an ocean with no life experience, learning where to find food and how to tackle it as they go.  Its a big ocean and food a very patchy resource.

With any species (with the exception of humans - and that might be debatable as well) there is always going to be a high mortality rate of young after independence.  I doubt the researchers involved in this study ever expected 100% of the birds tagged to survive.  It would be really interesting to know what they thought the attrition rate might be.  

For a pair of albatross to be successful reproductively all they have to do is reproduce two offspring in their lifetime - that is replace themselves.  Man-made circumstances in recent years has meant that this figure no longer ensures a stable population but that's one of the main reasons behind the promotion of this "bird race".

Think of this race much as you might an F1 car race.  The number of crossing the finish line is invariably only a fraction of the starters.


David Geering
Regent Honeyeater Recovery Coordinator
Department of Environment & Conservation
P.O. Box 2111
Dubbo  NSW  2830
Ph: 02 6883 5335 or Freecall 1800 621 056
Fax: 02 6884 9382

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