Help save the albatross

Help stamp out threats to albatrosses during the season of goodwill, that’s the festive plea from the RSPB.

The charity is asking people to help raise funds to protect the threatened birds by saving the stamps from their Christmas post.

On the planet for 50 million years, albatrosses are the largest flying birds in the world, but it is estimated that around 80,000 of them are killed each year by longline and trawl fishing vessels.

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Seventeen of the 22 species of albatross are threatened with extinction.

Andy Waters at the RSPB said: “Christmas and New Year in the UK is the height of summer in the Southern Ocean, meaning albatross parents will be battling against the elements to raise and feed their chicks, travelling thousands of kilometres for food. Unfortunately, many albatrosses will die trying to grab an easy meal from the baited hooks meant for fish, such as tuna.”

Thankfully, solutions exist. In 2005 the RSPB, in conjunction with BirdLife International, created the Albatross Task Force (ATF) - a team of people who work with fishermen to advise them of the simplest and most effective ways to avoid accidentally catching and killing these iconic birds.

Techniques such as using weighted lines to make baited hooks sink more quickly and the use of bird-scaring (tori) lines to deter the birds from the stern of fishing vessels are simple, yet effective measures.

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The charity’s stamp appeal has made over £100,000 since it began in 2004.

Send your used stamps to RSPB Stamps, PO Box 6198, Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire LU7 9XT.

Please sort the UK from Foreign stamps as we get higher prices.

More valuable items, such as first-day covers or stamp albums should be sent to: Stamp Volunteer, Community Marketing, RSPB, The Lodge, Sandy, Beds SG19 2DL.

To find out more about the work of the RSPB and BirdLife International’s Save the Albatross Campaign log onto:

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