|The world’s first albatross race got under way this week as celebrities, bookmakers and ecologists joined forces to highlight the plight of the majestic and endangered seabird. Visitors to www.ladbrokes.com can now bet on their favourite bird and track the eighteen electronically tagged ‘runners’ as they undertake their epic migration from Australia to South Africa.|
Sadly, not all of the birds may make it to the finishing post, as every year up to 300,000 albatrosses are killed by longline fishing. Thousands of baited hooks dragged behind boats drown the birds by dragging them for miles underwater. However, by identifying exactly where the birds fly, scientists hope they will be able to observe where the biggest threat from long lining is, and then apply international pressure to put an end to it.
Each of the Tasmanian Shy Albatrosses is ‘owned’ and named by a celebrity (ranging from Brian May to HRH Queen Noor of Jordan). All profits Ladbrokes make from the race will be donated to albatross research and conservation projects.