Bird club talk aimed at saving the albatross

The first Shetland Bird Club talk of the year is tomorrow, when club chairman Martin Heubeck will be giving a slide show entitled “The Atlantic Odyssey 2008: A Voyage from Antarctica to Ascension”.

In March 2008 Mr Heubeck took time off from studying the seabirds of Shetland to see the seabirds of Antarctica, South Georgia and other South Atlantic islands. The southern oceans provide rich feeding grounds for many species of penguins, petrels, albatrosses and sea mammals.

Mr Heubeck said: “It really was the voyage of a lifetime. The 74 species of seabirds we saw included eight different penguins and seven species of albatross, while some of the 15 species of cetaceans gave amazing views, whether among the icebergs of the Weddell Sea or in the blue, tropical waters around St Helena.”

Mr Heubeck is using the talk to raise money for BirdLife International’s Save the Albatross Campaign. Nineteen of the world’s 22 species of albatross are threatened with extinction largely due to deaths caused by longline fishing and collisions with deep- sea trawling gear. The death of 100,000 albatrosses each year can be prevented through education, equipment and stamping out pirate fishing.

Mr Heubeck said: “To see these great birds in their element, effortlessly cruising vast expanses of ocean, was humbling and a privilege. Everything possible should be done to help their populations recover to the levels of 50 years ago, when there may have been four or five times as many as are left now.”

The talk will take place in Room 16 at Islesburgh Community Centre at 7.30pm, with everyone welcome.


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