Wisdom, the world’s oldest known breeding albatross and Volvo Ocean Race mascot, has been spotted laying eggs at the ripe old age of 67.
The Laysan albatross, currently on Midway Atoll in the Pacific Ocean, flies thousands of miles each year, returning to the island to nest.
She was first tagged in the 1950s and is thought to have raised 35 chicks. Biologists estimate she has logged more than 4.5 million flying kilometres.
Albatross hold a special place in sailing, with many believing that the soul of a drowned sailor comes back in the form of the bird, gliding in the wake of boats in the world's most remote oceans, and keeping them safe.
Sailors on the recent Volvo Ocean Race leg across the Southern Ocean from Cape Town to Melbourne were on the lookout for this iconic species – and raced for thousands of miles with albatross flying gracefully around them.
As well as being the Race mascot, Wisdom also features throughout the Volvo Ocean Race Sustainability Education Programme.
A model of Wisdom is used to show the disastrous consequences of marine birds ingesting plastic. When the students are asked what birds eat, fish is the most popular reply – but when opened up Wisdom’s stomach is full of plastic.
The programme, designed for students aged 6-12 years, lets them discover the excitement of sailing through the Volvo Ocean Race and how plastic pollution is damaging our seas.
Lucy Hunt, Sustainability Education Programme Manager, said: “Even though she’s now technically a pensioner it’s great to see that Wisdom is still going strong unlike many other birds who are suffering because of the amount of plastic polluting our sea.
“We wanted to use Wisdom as a key element in our Education Programme to highlight the issues around ocean health but also to inspire children to become part of the solution.
“So as part of the programme, kids become 'Champions for the Sea' and are set ‘Champion Challenges’ to save Wisdom's ocean home”.
The Education Programme is available in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Swedish, Dutch and Chinese and fits with curriculums globally. It forms part of the Volvo Ocean Race’s sustainability programme spanning three key pillars: to maximise impact, to minimise footprint, and to leave a positive legacy.
Check out the full Volvo Ocean Race Education Programme here