Earlier this year the Galapagos National Park Service, in collaboration with the Charles Darwin Foundation and with David Anderson (Department of Biology, Wake Forest University, USA) and Sebastian Cruz and Carolina Proaño of the Colegio de Ciencias de la Vida, Universidad San Francisco de Quito, Ecuador, fitted 19 adult Waved Albatrosses Phoebastria irrorata at Punta Cevallos on Española Island with geolocator devices (click here).
The devices are scheduled to be removed in May 2011 and should then provide information on the post-breeding movements of Waved Albatrosses at sea. Little is currently known about where they go during the first few months of the year when they presumably could be interacting with fisheries in open waters.
According to David Anderson Española's Waved Albatrosses should not have been affected by the recent tsunami in the Pacific Ocean, since the adults do not return to the island to commence breeding until late March/April. If there were any ashore he considers their cliff-top and inland breeding habitats would have protected them, unlike on the low-lying islands in the North Pacific where thousands of albatross adults and chicks have been lost (click here). This will be confirmed by a research visit later this month.
The Waved Albatross has been categorized as Critically Endangered by BirdLife International because it has an extremely small breeding range, is essentially confined to one island, and evidence suggests that it has experienced a substantial recent population decline.
Click here to read a paper on the population status of the Waved Albatross.
With thanks to David Anderson for information.
John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 16 March 2011