Photo by @FransLanting Our oceans are full of junk and albatrosses searching for food often mistake floating plastic and rubber objects for fish or squid and swallow them. It’s hard to know what goes on inside the mind of an albatross, but I speculate that they are hardwired to swallow things that feel like fish or squid and plastic or rubber may not taste that different to a hungry albatross. After all, their feeding habits evolved long before there was any plastic junk out at sea. When you walk around an albatross colony you see the sad results. Many thousands of albatross chicks die every year because their parents feed them plastic instead of fish and it clogs up their intestines until they die. It’s heartbreaking to see their decaying corpses full of junk, but because this mortality occurs on remote oceanic islands, few people know this is a problem, so we need to show and share what is going on. For this image I asked a researcher on South Georgia’s Bird Island to unwrap a roll of plastic that had been regurgitated by a wandering albatross. Imagine what that could have done to the bird or its chick if it had unwound in their guts. Plastic pollution is a global problem, but there are local solutions. They start with banning single use plastic items from your own lifestyle and from your community and there are lots of campaigns gaining momentum that can effect change on a bigger scale. Check some of the hashtags and share this post. And follow us @FransLanting and @ChristineEckstrom for more stories about these amazing birds who deserve better than to die from plastic pollution.
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South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands