How Scientists are Saving Threatened Albatross Chicks


Laysan albatrosses are giant birds with lots of personality. As adults, they spend years at sea, returning to land to lay eggs and rear their adorably awkward-looking chicks. But most Laysan albatrosses build their nests on low elevation Northwestern Hawaiian islands which are increasingly threatened by climate change. Over the last few years, high waves and tsunamis have begun to affect the albatross habitat, and scientists believe the situation will only get worse.

In the short video “Saving Albatross Chicks From Tsunamis and Rising Seas,” National Geographic documents the steps researchers at Pacific Rim Conservation are taking to make sure Laysan albatrosses continue to thrive in Hawaii. In order to encourage the birds to nest on higher ground, researchers relocated a collection of albatross eggs laid dangerously close to an active military runway, bringing them to the North shore of Oahu, which lies at a higher elevation. Now, they’re raising the chicks by hand until they grow up enough to fly away on their own, in hopes that the birds will eventually return to the makeshift albatross colony to raise baby albatrosses of their own.

“A lot of conservation work tends to be reactionary in nature,” biologist Robby Kohley explains in the video above. “But there are some threats that we know about already, we know it’s going to be a problem, and I think it’s important to be proactive about trying to address some of these threats before it’s an emergency.”

Banner Image Credit: National Geographic, YouTube