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  • Albatros

    Galápagos albatrosses still threatened with extinction

    Every year on 19 June, World Albatross Day is celebrated to raise public awareness of the problems faced by these birds. The theme of this year's celebration was: "Ensuring albatross-friendly fisheries". Two particularly threatened species were highlighted: The Tristan albatross from Gough Island and the Galápagos albatross. Both are, according to the World Conservation Union (IUCN), threatened with extinction. 

    The Galápagos Albatross (Phoebastria irrorata) is endemic to Ecuador and 99% of the total population breeds on Española Island. The Charles Darwin Organisation and the Galápagos National Park Authority jointly launched an ecological and epidemiological monitoring program for these animals 19 years ago.  

    The head of the program Gustavo Jiménez-Uzcátegui (CDF) notes that in the years after 2000, about 50% of the albatrosses only became sexually mature at the age of 7, whereas around 1970 the reproductive age of the birds was 4. Gustavo suspects that fishermen with their boats catch a large part of the birds' food, which has led to greater food competition in the last 20 years. This could greatly delay the sexual development of the albatrosses.