Thứ Hai, 30 tháng 11, 2015

The Oldest Known Seabird, An Albatross Named Wisdom, Has Returned To Her Island

Wisdom checks her egg in 2014.

Greg Joder via U.S. Fish & Wildlife

The world's oldest known seabird, a 64-year-old Laysan albatross named Wisdom, has returned to the remote Midway Atoll in the North Pacific, a milestone federal wildlife officials heralded in a Thanksgiving Day announcement.

"It is very humbling to think that she has been visiting Midway for at least 64 years," Bret Wolfe, a manager at the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, said in a statement. "Navy sailors and their families likely walked by her not knowing she could possibly be rearing a chick over 50 years later. She represents a connection to Midway's past as well as embodying our hope for the future."

A field of Laysan albatross incubate their eggs on Eastern Island in the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge in 2005.

Lucy Pemoni / Associated Press

The refuge is within the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument on the atoll, a remote U.S. territory north of the Hawaiian archipelago that is about one-third of the way between Honolulu and Tokyo.

According to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Wisdom was first tagged in 1956, but because Laysan albatross do not return to breed until they are at least 5 years old, she could be older than 64.

Wisdom is spotted with her mate on Nov. 19.

Kiah Walker via U.S. FIsh & Wildlife

She was spotted with a mate at the world's largest albatross nesting colony on Nov. 19 and is expected to return soon to lay her egg, just as she has done for the past five decades.

Over the course of her life, she has logged an estimated six million ocean miles of flight time, officials said.

Laysan albatrosses typically mate for life, but since Wisdom is so old, she's likely had more than one mate and, according to refuge observers, has raised as many as 36 chicks.

Dan Clark, who also helps manage the refuge, said in a statement that Wisdom's return was a humble reminder of the need to continue to preserve the breeding grounds.

"In the face of dramatic seabird population decreases worldwide – 70% drop since the 1950’s when Wisdom was first banded — Wisdom has become a symbol of hope and inspiration."

Wisdom incubates her egg in 2014.

Greg Joder via USFW

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