From left: Jimmy Breeden, Kelly Goodale, Elaine Beaudoin, Joanna Morelli, Nicole Faber, Joey Latsha, Emily Jankowski, William Kennerley, Jon Plissner, Tim Clark, Virginie Ternisien, Tristen Luxner, Suzanne Pluskat, Alex Chmielewski, Amanda Boyd and Stephen Barclay, 29 February 2020; photograph by Amanda Boyd
Back in January ACAP Latest News featured a group of volunteers visiting Midway Atoll’s uninhabited Eastern Island in the North Pacific for the annual albatross count. While on the island they signalled their support for the inauguration of World Albatross Day on 19 June this year by gathering for a photo behind their hand-drawn sign made by volunteer Caren Loebel-Fried.
During her time on Midway, Caren requested that a similar photo be taken on the larger inhabited Sand Island with the atoll’s combined conservation team. In response no less than 16 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) volunteers, interns and staff, Pacific Rim Conservation staff and Island Conservation staff gathered last month in front of the refuge sign on Sand Island holding up four sheets of paper printed with the words WORLD ALBATROSS DAY 19 JUNE 2020. A look at the photo shows that a seemingly bashful Laysan Albatross centre stage has turned its back on the camera, no doubt waiting patiently for peace and quiet to return. Many more Laysans can be seen gathered for the breeding season in the background.
ACAP Latest News is appreciative of the conservationists on Midway finding time to gather in support of ‘WAD2020’, especially as there is a lot going on at the atoll this year to keep them all busy. Most important will be the effort set to take place in a few months’ time to eradicate the introduced House Mice that have taken to attacking breeding albatrosses on Sand Island (fortunately Eastern Island remains mouse free).
And of course, among the hundreds and thousands of albatrosses that breed on the atoll to look after there are two world-famous pairs of albatrosses to keep a watchful eye over: 69-year old Laysan Albatross Wisdom and her mate Akeamakai (currently on a ‘gap year’) and George and Geraldine, the only Short-tailed Albatross pair that breeds successfully outside Japan - whose current chick, their second, is growing apace.
Wisdom & Akeamakai, 2015, photo by Kiah Walker
George & Geraldine, 2018, photo by Madelein Riley
With thanks to Stephen Barclay, Acting Manager, Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge and Caren Loebel-Fried.
John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 19 March 2020