Dec 9, 2022

Mawazo Writing Africa

Writing about the main

Albatross takes flight after sea rescue with a happy ending in Durban

A juvenile Indian yellow-nosed albatross that landed and ‘stranded’ on a ship at the Outer Anchorage off the coast of Durban has been successfully released back into the wild.

< p>The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) Mate on Duty Paul Bevis said the NSRI helped uShaka Sea World with Thursday’s release.

“The Spirit of Surfski VI rescue boat was prepared for the mission. A young Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross had landed a few days ago on a motor vessel at the Outer Anchorage off the coast of Durban Harbour. These majestic birds require a fairly long runway to get airborne and the bird, not having a sufficiently long runway on the ship, had parked itself on the ship which entered Durban harbor a few days later.” he said.

A Transnet Ports Authority pilot, who had boarded the ship at sea to pilot it into port, was informed of the “visitor”.

“The Pilot contacted uShaka Sea World to see if they could help. As soon as the ship docked, they were met by uShaka Sea World staff, who safely captured the bird. The albatross, now malnourished and weak, was rehabilitated, fed, rehydrated and prepared for release,” Bevis said.

The rehabilitation process took a few days.

“Once after the bird returned regained strength, uShaka Sea World contacted NSRI Durban to see if we could assist in releasing the bird. The brief we received from uShaka Sea World’s marine scientists was to try to find other bird species at sea and release the bird at least five kilometers offshore, hopefully close to other seabird species.

“NSRI Durban Duty Crew, accompanied by aquarists from uShaka Sea World and a volunteer, brought the Albatros, secured in a crate, aboard our lifeboat Spirit of Surfski VI and we set out to set sail . About three miles off the coast of Durban Port we searched for a while to see if we could find other seabirds nearby, but as we found no birds the decision was made to release the albatross,” said Bevis /p>

Some 6.5 nautical miles offshore, uShaka Sea World aquarist Lesley Labuschagne and a uShaka Sea World volunteer prepared to release the bird.

“There As these animals are known to react unfavorably to bright colours, Lesley and the volunteer, making every effort to relieve the bird of any stress and in the interest of taking all precautions for its welfare and care, donned their orange life jackets and yellow NSRI Helmets off and while our NSRI crew took increased security measures, the bird was carefully removed from its crate.

“Lesley handled the bird firmly but gently, preparing it for di e release. Everyone on board, as agreed, was very quiet and all that could be heard was the lapping of the swell against the pontoons of our lifeboats. We turned it broadside into the wind,” said Bevis.

He said that in favorable sea conditions, with winds around eight to ten knots, Labuschagne and the volunteer gently held the bird into the wind and threw it into the air, hoping it would catch the headwind and give it enough lift to take off.

“But instead of taking off, the albatross promptly landed in the water. From a safe distance we watched him hopping up and down while he apparently took a good 15 to 20 minutes to groom and preen.

‘Seemingly pleased with his grooming performance, the bird faced this met a gentle headwind and with a few steps on the water and some wing extensions he gathered momentum and took off.”

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