22 Mar 2011

Oldest albatross survives tsunami in Midway

7:09 pm on 22 March 2011

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials are celebrating that an albatross that could be the oldest in the world has survived the tsunami triggered by Japan's earthquake.

Some islands at the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge near Hawaii were washed over by one and a half metre high waves.

Many birds died including more than 100,000 chicks and 2,000 adults of the Laysan and black-footed albatross species

But project leader for the Hawaiian and Pacific Islands National Wildlife Refuge Complex, Barry Stieglitz, says they were glad to see the albatross, known as Wisdom, was there feeding.

"The world's oldest documented living wild bird, Wisdom, was sighted again back at Midway National Atoll Refuge feeding her chick over the weekend. Although most of the adults were capable of flying away, because the tsunami struck at night they weren't capable of detecting the danger and avoiding it in that sense, so we did lose a number of adults."

Barry Stieglitz says Wisdom is thought to be about 60 years old.