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From: "Lachie Clark" <>
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Subject: albatross punting
Date: Fri, 23 Jan 2004 09:13:05 +1100
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Hello Fellow birders..
Article from this morning (Fridays) age.
Just shows that they will bet on anything these days..
Punters will soon be able to follow their bets where none have gone
before - backing albatrosses in flights across the oceans in what is
being billed the "ultimate flutter".
The Big Bird Race, launched in London last night, involves British
bookmaker Ladbrokes, the British charity The Conservation Foundation and
18 satellite-tracked Tasmanian shy albatrosses.
Internet gamblers worldwide will be given form and odds on individual
birds, which they will be able to track online to a finish line south of
the Cape of Good Hope.
While winnings will go back to the punters, the revenue, hoped to amount
to millions of dollars, will go to seabird conservation.
Albatrosses, dying by the tens of thousands on longline hooks, are among
the world's most threatened birds. An Australian-sponsored international
Agreement on Conservation of Albatross and Petrels will come into force
on February 1, obliging signatory nations to act on the crisis. But 21
of the world's 24 species of albatrosses are either in decline or their
status is unknown, according to the federal Environment Department, and
major fishing nations such as Japan and Korea are yet to sign the
international agreement.

The race's originator, British economist Tim Nevard, said it was hoped
the race would raise awareness of the albatrosses' plight. "It will also
be the single largest satellite tracking project for seabirds that has
ever been undertaken," Mr Nevard told the launch from Hobart.
The Tasmanian shy albatross is among the few albatross species not on
the threatened list. It breeds on just three small islands: Albatross
Island in western Bass Strait, and Pedra Branca and Mewstone, south-east
of Tasmania.
With animal ethics approval from the Tasmanian Government, 18 juvenile
shy albatross will have transmitters smaller than a ballpoint pen taped
to their body feathers in March. Shortly after, they should leave their
birth islands for what is usually a three-year absence.
Leg band returns have shown that Tasmanian shys reach waters off South
Africa, apparently travelling west over the Indian Ocean. Mr Nevard said
bets could be laid on which bird would be first past waypoints such as
Kangaroo Island, Cape Leeuwin, WA, and St Paul Island in the Indian
Ocean, and on to the finishing line.

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