The story of Wisdom, the 65-year-old Laysan Albatross is the topic that defies the knowledge of scientists all around the world.
Meet Wisdom. She’s a beautiful Laysan Albatross, widely thought to be the world’s oldest bird currently roaming planet Earth. However, what made headlines back then was not the fact that she was 65-years-old. The report was instead about the fact that she had laid an egg at such an old age.
Back when the report was released, the Albatross had come back to U.S. soil, at the Midway Atoll national wildlife refuge, located northwest of Hawaii, with a mate, after remaining incognito for over a year. She was back at the world’s largest nesting albatross colony to raise her new chick – also thought to be her 40th.
It seemed like age was nothing but a number for this rare albatross. And that turned out to be true. Two months later and in present time, it has been confirmed that the egg laid by Wisdom did hatch and that she has had her 40th chick. This is an impressive feat for a bird as old as her, says a report by The Christian Science Monitor.
Wisdom’s egg hatched earlier this month (February 1) and both the mother and the chick are doing well. The hatchling, named Baby Kūkini, is also being cared for by its father, identified as ‘Gooo’. The father is called by that name because the identification tag on his leg reads ‘6000.’
According to locals, Kūkini is Hawaiian for ‘messenger’ and the young bird is being mostly cared for by its father as Wisdom often leaves for long periods of time to bring back food that she regurgitates to Kūkini.
— Papahānaumokuākea (@HawaiiReef) February 9, 2016
Wisdom was first banded way back in 1956 by then 40-year-old biologist Chandler Robbins. The man who first saw her is now 97. She was ‘rediscovered’ by him after four decades. Another piece of amazing statistic released by officials is the fact that Wisdom might have in her lifetime, flown more than 3 million miles since she was first tagged. That is the equivalent of six trips from the Earth to the Moon and back!
According to the World Wide Fund for Nature, albatrosses usually live up to 60 years. These birds attain sexual maturity at about 5 years old, but usually breed when they are 7 to 10 years old. Laysan albatrosses (Phoebastria immutabilis) face several threats to their survival. In 2001, an analysis estimated that about 5,000 to 18,000 Laysan albatrosses are killed because of pelagic longliners in the North Pacific.
To sum up, the story of Wisdom is quite heroic. Like humans, older birds experience weakness and they do not have the same endurance as when they were younger. It is only admirable that the 65-year-old mother hunts food for her hatchling with the risk that in the process, she might face tremendous threats in the environment.
Image Source: static.us.