The gut wrenching feeling of guilt, shame and horror washes over my very being, penetrating my soul and every living cell in my body, as I stare at the recognisable contents that lay before me.
My eyes are fixed in total disbelief. Caps from bottles, a disposable lighter and plastic bag remnants amongst many other plastics fill the contents of the stomach of a once majestic being, the Albatross, with it bringing a whole new meaning to the words “stuffed animal”.
A stinging saline tear rolls slowly down my cheek as I imagine the struggle and pain this chick has suffered whilst choking, being poisoned or starved, at the hand of man. Another tear burns down my cheek upon the realisation that this baby is only one of tens of thousands killed each year.
Unaware of the ‘food’ they are bringing back for their babies, adult Albatrosses cannot distinguish between plastic foods and natural diets especially as our seas are becoming increasingly littered with rubbish. Parents, themselves often choke and drown as they head for trawlers hoping for a tasy bit of fish or squid but instead get a mouthful of barbed hooks as they are dragged under and pulled along the water on the long-lines. Other threats include climate change, ocean pollution like oil spills and loss of natural habitats amongst others.
Man who is responsible for care-taking the planets’ natural resources, the same Man who talks about climate change, education, economies, wildlife and habitat protection. The very same Man that chooses to close his eyes in ignorance, is often too late to take action.
Sir David Attenborough said “Albatrosses have survived in the harshest marine environments for 50 million years; more than 100 times longer than our own species. However, these magnificent birds are unable to cope with man-made threats, such as longline fishing.” He continues “Albatrosses should be free to circle the globe for millions of years to come – we must stop this needless slaughter now to prevent an entire branch being torn from the evolutionary tree.”
Sadly, the Albatross is only one of an ever increasing species at risk on our planet.In our modern world very few would argue that goods bought and sold are of real quality and that they last. Everything now is cheap and disposable to Man including his natural resources. I am ashamed that as intelligent beings we are unable, or refuse, to sustain our Earths’ resources and its inhabitants yet we talk about safe guarding the environment for our children’s futures.
If you are thinking that the Albatross is not a UK bird, I urge you to think again. Over a third of the worlds’ Albatrosses breed on islands forming part of the overseas territories belonging to France and the UK. The RSPB continues “Although these islands are very remote they are still the UK’s responsibility, and make the albatrosses which nest on them as British as if they were nesting on top of the White Cliffs of Dover. No-one would stand by and watch them being slaughtered there, so why should we tolerate it just because it is happening thousands of miles away in the South Atlantic?”
Unfortunately of the 21 species known, only two are not endangered.
The time for endless talks has to end, the time for action must be a priority before the worlds’ human population becomes non-chalant about protecting all who have a right to be here and in turn may find itself on the brink of extinction due to negligence and lack of understanding that we depend on nature for survival as much as nature depends on us.