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Dales residents look to southern oceans and help save the Albatross

[Wednesday 27 September 2006]

IT MAY be a long way from the Yorkshire Dales to the South Atlantic, but people living in Harrogate and Knaresborough have been so moved by the plight of one of the southern oceans' most endangered birds that they've joined a campaign to save it.

Dales residents do their bit for the Albatross
Photo: RSPB

An albatross is killed every five minutes and nineteen of the world's twenty-one albatross species are under threat from indiscriminate longline fishing in the southern oceans; this led to concerned residents in the two Dales towns actively supporting the RSPB's 'Save the Albatross' campaign.

Local residents including clients of Shamrock Veterinary Clinic in Harrogate, local RSPB members and the Second Knaresborough Brownies group have all been helping to raise funds for the campaign by collecting used stamps.

The RSPB then sells the stamps to raise money to fund a global campaign to help safeguard the spectacular seabirds.

Staff at the Shamrock Veterinary Clinic in Harrogate masterminded the collection of the stamps, which have been brought in by the sack full by people from throughout the district.

The clinic's Pamela Singleton said: "I was devastated to hear of the plight of these magnificent seabirds and wanted to find a way of raising funds to support the RSPB's efforts to save albatrosses from extinction.

I was devastated to hear of the plight of these magnificent seabirds and wanted to find a way of raising funds...

Pamela Singleton - Shamrock Veterinary Clinic

"Collecting used stamps and sending them to the RSPB to be turned into cash is an easy way for people to help.

"We initially put a notice in our surgery waiting room asking clients to bring stamps in. The response was tremendous with people bringing carrier bags full of stamps in to our clinic."

Pamela is planning to see the albatrosses at first hand and has recently embarked on a trip to visit Australia and New Zealand.

She added: "Tackling this problem is a global issue, but people in Yorkshire are helping make a difference and I would like to thank them all for such a fantastic effort."

The Shamrock veterinary clinic at 43 Knaresborough Road, Harrogate HG2 7SR is continuing to collect stamps on behalf of the Save the Albatross Campaign.

For more information about albatrosses, visit www.savethealbatross.net

Albatross Facts:

  • 21 species: 19 are under threat of global extinction, of which 2 are critically endangered, including the Amsterdam albatross - only 17 pairs remain. Of the other 17 threatened species, seven are endangered and 10 are classed as vulnerable.

  • Range: found in all oceans except the North Atlantic and the Arctic.

  • Largest: the Wandering albatross has a 3.5 metre [11.5-foot] wingspan.

  • Longest flight: A grey-headed albatross circumnavigated the world in 46 days! They are capable of non-stop flight for an amazing 6,250 miles.

  • Lifespan: 30 to 60 years

  • Lifecycle: Eggs are incubated for up to 80 days and the chicks will not reach breeding age until they are 8-12 years old. Most species are monogamous and produce a single chick, every year, or every other year for some species. If a chick is lost, the adults will not produce a replacement egg. Both parents incubate and feed the chick.

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