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About The Wandering Albatrosses

Context:

Wandering albatrosses are threatened with extinction and climate change could put their nesting sites at risk.

Relevance:

GS III: Environment and Ecology

Wandering Albatrosses:

Physical Marvel:
  • Largest Flying Bird: Wandering albatrosses hold the title of the world’s largest flying bird, boasting an astounding wingspan that extends up to 3.5 meters.
Nomadic Seafarers:
  • Oceanic Lifestyle: These avian giants live the majority of their impressive 60-year lifespan at sea, making only periodic visits to land for breeding purposes.
  • Southern Hemisphere Dwellers: Found predominantly in the Southern Hemisphere, wandering albatrosses are iconic inhabitants of the vast Southern Ocean, spanning from 60 degrees south latitude to the fringes of Antarctica.
Breeding Grounds:
  • Island Sanctuaries: The birds choose remote subantarctic islands, such as Marion Island and Prince Edward Island, for breeding. These islands feature peat soils, tussock grass, sedges, mosses, and shrubs.
Conservation Significance:
  • Population Centers: Approximately half of the global wandering albatross breeding population is concentrated on Marion Island and Prince Edward Island.
  • Conservation Status: Recognized as “Vulnerable” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), these magnificent birds face threats that necessitate conservation efforts.
Threats and Conservation Needs:
  • Human-Induced Dangers: Longline fishing poses a significant threat to wandering albatrosses, with these birds getting hooked and drowning. Additionally, ingestion of plastics, detrimental to both chicks and adults, is another pressing concern.

-Source: Down To Earth


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