Attenborough joins albatross campaign

Oct. 7, 2005 at 8:34 PM
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LONDON, Oct. 7 (UPI) -- Sir David Attenborough, the British naturalist known for his broadcasts on wildlife, has joined the campaign to save the albatross.

The birds are threatened by long-line fishing for large species like tuna. Boats set out lines as long as 80 miles with baited hooks every few feet. Albatross, swooping down to take the bait, are hooked and drown.

Attenborough, vice president of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, joins Prince Charles and Ellen MacArthur, a renowned long-distance sailor.

"Albatrosses have survived in the harshest marine environments for 50 million years, more than 100 times longer than our own species," Attenborough said. "However, these magnificent birds are unable to cope with man-made threats, such as long-line fishing."

Operation Ocean Task Force says long-liners can easily avoid taking albatross by fishing at night, weighting the lines to put them under the surface or attaching bird-scaring streamers to them. The group hopes to convince long-liner owners to allow observers aboard to train crew members.

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