[va-bird] Albatross tracking
- From: Dave Hewitt <dhewitt@xxxxxxxx>
- To: va-bird@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Sun, 27 Jun 2004 13:11:27 -0400
Apologies for the lack of connection to Virginia, but i imagine many folks on the list will find this interesting. -------------------------------------------------- June 22, 2004 This Derby Will Be Won by a Bird By ERIC DASH This week, more than 12 young albatrosses will soar into the homestretch of what might be called the Big Bird version of the Belmont Stakes, a 6,000-mile migration from Australia's coastal islands to South Africa, complete with celebrity owners, scientific training stables and even online betting. The Conservation Foundation, based in London, proposed holding the race last year as a way to observe the migratory patterns of the Tasmanian shy albatross while bolstering support for seabird protection. Each of the 18 birds in competition was selected by Australian government scientists for fitness and attitude, outfitted with a transmitter and sponsored by a celebrity "owner." Queen Noor of Jordan named her bird the Ancient Mariner, after the Coleridge poem. Brian May, former guitarist for Queen, called his Rocky. "This is really the biggest seabird satellite-tracking project the world has ever had," said Tim Nevard, a consultant for the foundation and the chief race steward. The information is already being used to chart where the use of long-line fishing nets, a growing threat to nearly all albatrosses, might be curbed. Ladbrokes, the bookmaker, is giving the event the trappings of a Triple Crown race. Since the beginning of the race, on April 25, it has been accepting wagers on the first albatross to cross the finish line and tracking the seabirds at www.Ladbrokes.com/bigbirdrace. So far, more than $55,000 has been wagered, and Ladbrokes will donate all proceeds to charities involved with albatross conservation. Five birds remain in the running. Several headed in the wrong direction. Rocky barely passed go. The race favorite with initial odds of 20-to-1 is now Aphrodite, a leggy female sponsored by Jerry Hall, the former model. Though Aphrodite took an early lead by catching a westerly tailwind, she was briefly pronounced dead and disqualified when a transmitter malfunction caused her to fall off the radar screen. Aphrodite has since resurfaced. If she wins, all bets will be honored. --------------------------------------------- Dave Hewitt Fisheries Science/Crustacean Ecology Virginia Institute of Marine Science College of William and Mary P.O. Box 1346 Gloucester Point, VA 23062 804.684.7643 dhewitt@xxxxxxxx You are subscribed to VA-BIRD. To post to this mailing list, simply send email to va-bird@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx To unsubscribe, send email to va-bird-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx with 'unsubscribe' in the Subject field.
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