Age is Just a Number

Albatross Named Wisdom Astounds Scientists by Producing Chick at Age 62

This article is about a Laysan albatross that reproduced at the age of 62, beating the previous albatross record of 61. Most albatrosses only live to be about half as old and usually die from human-caused issues like plasticide. Here is a link to an article that got me interested in wildlife conservation in the first place: Shed Bird. It’s a sad story about a Laysan albatross that died from consuming too much plastic (12oz!!!)

Back to Wisdom, scientists are amazed such an old bird can still be having chicks. However, they also say it is possible many birds could be 60 years old. Tags fall off after about 20 years. It is difficult to replace them and keep track of individual birds, making data inaccurate. One researcher is 94 and is still trying to update and organize the information to get better data! With animals that live so long, it really takes some dedication by researchers to follow the animal’s progress.

I think the research is surprising and continues to show how much science doesn’t know about wildlife. Nineteen of 21 albatross species are close to extinction, and hopefully this research will gain some momentum for the birds. I liked the comment about the birds being emblematic of the health of the ocean and that ecosystem. It seems kind of obvious, but I think that idea goes overlooked a lot. For example, if people get sick they usually just want medication to make them better. Many times they don’t stop to think that what they do or eat directly corresponds to how they feel, or they don’t care enough until the issues are more severe. Healthier food equals healthier body which most likely correlates to less health issues. The difference is that animals don’t get the luxury of treating issues with medicine. They can’t draw-out their lives with medicine and continue their forced unhealthy habits. I like the logic that we should focus on the core “health issue” of the ecosystem and habitat, and not just try to fix “symptoms” of it that occur higher up in the food chain. Higher food chain animals will also benefit from an improvement in habitat for animals that are lower on the food chain. It all starts with a strong and healthy foundation!

Laysan Albatross. Wiki Commons: DickDaniels

Laysan Albatross. Wiki Commons: DickDaniels

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