MAY 26, 2016 02:08 PM PDT

Awestruck for albatross

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Laysan albatrosses (Phoebastria immutabilis) are long-lived seabirds that prefer to nest in low-lying areas near the ocean. This is an issue because of rising sea levels and particularly high waves from unpredictable weather patterns.

"There are more than a million [Laysan albatrosses] worldwide, but about 98 percent of them nest in the northwestern Hawaiian Islands, most of which have a maximum elevation of two to three meters [about seven to 10 feet]," says Eric VanderWerf of the nonprofit Pacific Rim Conservation, which is overseeing the relocation of the birds in the James Campbell National Wildlife Refuge on Hawaii's island of Oahu.

In this unique project, the U.S. Navy and conservationists are banding together for the sake of the birds. By relocating eggs from a colony that nests on lower ground to foster albatross parents, and later to hand-rearing in the James Campbell National Wildlife Refuge, the team hopes that the youngsters will grow up to consider the site their home and lay their own eggs there, thus protecting them from the encroaching ocean.

Sources: National Geographic
About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
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