Albatross, thought extinct, lays egg

TOKYO, Dec. 19 (UPI) -- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says a short-tailed albatross, once thought extinct, has laid its first-ever egg on Eastern Island in the Midway atoll.

The breeding pair, who have been taking turns warming the egg, previously had both been branded.


Identifying rings around the mother and father show both birds were born on Torishima Island, 3,000 miles west of Eastern Island, the Yomiuri Shimbun reported Sunday.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service administers Eastern Island which is part of the Midway atoll. In 2000 a Japanese non-profit called The Oceanic Wildlife Society was allowed to place 16 decoys on Midway to help the birds form a new colony.

Environmentalists have endeavored to get the albatross there to form pairs by putting out detailed models of the birds and playing recorded bird cries on Torishima Island, one of the other hoped-for breeding sites, the newspaper reported.

Short-tailed albatross were thought to have become extinct between the late 19th and early 20th centuries, due to overhunting for their feathers which were used in women's hats.

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