Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Environmental Limerick: The Albatross

I admire the old man albatross
For he knows that his wife is the boss
So he waits on the nest
As she flies East and West
To catch fish 'neath the old Southern Cross

Albatross nesting on the Falkland Islands
A Barry Mead Photograph

Before man arrived on the scene the albatross was the undisputed  ruler of the sky over the Southern Ocean. nesting on small islands well away from any possible mammal predators. The first Polynesians hunted them for food and exterminated them from Easter Island. Later the emigrants sailing to Australia found it a great sport to shoot passing albatross while others were harvested for the feather trade. Rats and cats have been introduced onto some of the nesting islands, while other are killed because of modern factory fishing techniques. Plastic rubbish floating in the ocean can also be ingested resulting in more deaths.

Of the 22 species that exist all are a matter of concern with ten species on the critically endangered list (three at a critical level). For more information see the Wikipedia page or watch the National Geographic video "The endangered Albatross"

(I plan to post further "Environmental Limericks" over the coming months and suggestions for possible put a comment below, preferably with a link to a relevant page.)

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