It is true that things have been a bit quiet on the ATF blog front lately – but that is not because stuff hasn’t been happening! Indeed 2020 is set to be an important year and decade in the world of albatross conservation and our teams have been getting stuck right into it all!

Those of you following our #AlbatrossStories on social media may have picked up on the exciting news: in June we will be celebrating the first ever World Albatross Day! From virtually uninhabited UK Overseas Territories in the South Atlantic, to cities across Argentina, South Africa and Japan – albatrosses will be celebrated, and a spotlight put on the issues that continue to threaten their survival.

World Albatross Day will reach all corners of the world… even the RSPB’s most remote team on Gough Island are flying the flag for WAD! And the dedicated men and women of the Albatross Task Force will of course be joining in on the fun too!

RSPB team on Gough show their support for World Albatross Day

Our ATF team in Chile was the first one to get fully onboard with World Albatross Day (pun intended) and kicked the year off by taking a banner out to sea to raise awareness of the conservation crisis albatrosses face amongst those working on boats in Chilean waters. As I write this, our ATF instructor Reason is on a demersal longliner off the coast of South Africa taking another banner out to sea,  aiming to do the same thing in his corner of the world.

ATF team in Chile are the first to take World Albatross Day banner out to sea

Cristian Suazo, ATF team leader in Chile, says: “Gaining recognition among fishers of the need to conserve albatrosses is undoubtedly a powerful sign that the tide of our collective attitude and commitment is changing.”  Click here to read more about the work of our ATF team in Chile. 

Thinking about the incredible journeys individual albatrosses may make in their lifetime - travelling from the Southern Ocean to the shores of South America, Africa, Australia and New Zealand - there is no doubt that we must work across national borders if we are to save these incredible birds from extinction. The World Albatross Day initiative is being led by the Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels (ACAP) – an intergovernmental organisation that seeks to protect albatrosses by coordinating and undertaking international activity to mitigate known threats to their populations. The UK has been a signatory of this agreement since 2001.

World Albatross Day poster by Owen Davey

At the RSPB we are working with a wide range of partners to protect threatened albatrosses both on land and at sea: by reducing the impacts of invasive alien species on UK Overseas Territories where they nest and working with fishers and governments all over the world to reduce the number of birds that are accidentally killed in fisheries.

You can read more about the RSPB’s support for World Albatross Day here.

Stay tuned for more information on how you can get involved!

By Nina da Rocha – Albatross Task Force Project Officer