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Don’t let this be the last post for albatross

Albatrosses are threatened this Christmas but the RSPB has a festive plea, asking people to help raise funds to protect these threatened birds by saving up the stamps from their Christmas post.

Fourteen out of twenty two albatross species are threatened with extinction but there is a simple thing that you can do this Christmas to give these amazing birds a future.

As seen in the upcoming last episode of Blue Planet 2, albatrosses are facing threats such as those from marine plastics, with two thirds of albatross species being threatened with extinction. However, the main threat to albatrosses is death on a hook at the end of a fishing long-line. It’s estimated that around 100,000 of them are killed each year by longline and trawl fishing vessels.

Seven albatross species breed on the UK Overseas Territories, accounting for one third of all the albatross in the world.

The Albatross Task Force is helping to save albatrosses from extinction both at sea and on land. They show fishing crews how to stop albatrosses from being killed and share the best techniques and tools. As a result of this work, we have reduced the risk of extinction of two species of albatross already.

Working with stamp dealers and specialist auction houses, the RSPB can raise money for this vital work. Each stamp has a very small value, but in large quantities they’re still valuable. When you send in your stamps, you’re helping give albatrosses a brighter future.

In 2014 we were able to announce that thanks to our efforts, the number of albatross killed in the hake trawl fishery in South Africa has dropped by 99 per cent! There is still work to be done in other countries, but this amazing success shows what is possible when we work with fishermen.

Cleo Small from the RSPB’s marine team, said: “The simple act of sending in your Christmas stamps help us fund simple and effective ways of keeping albatrosses off the hook. These magnificent birds can have a bright future and your Christmas stamps can help us give them just that.”

In 2005 the RSPB, in conjunction with BirdLife International, created the Albatross Task Force (ATF) – a team of people who work with fishermen and advise them of the simplest and most effective ways to avoid accidentally catching and killing these birds.  Techniques such as using weighted lines to make baited hooks sink more quickly and the use of bird-scaring (tori) lines to deter the birds from the stern of fishing vessels are simple, yet effective measures.

The charity’s stamp appeal, which made over £20,000 last year, encourages people to save stamps from their Christmas post and donate them to the RSPB to raise money for its Save the Albatross campaign.

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