Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Massachusetts
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Massachusetts Project

Ecology and Conservation of Short-tailed Albatrosses

May 2001 - December 2012


Participating Agencies

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The short-tailed albatross is an endangered species with a current world population of approximately 3,000 individuals. Almost all birds nest on Torishima Island, 350 miles south of Tokyo, but little is known about how they use the ocean environment. Movement data will be combined with oceanographic data to better understand the variables affecting selection of foraging sites. Also, from 2008-2012 we will be working to re-establish an extirpated colony by translocating chicks from Torishima to Mukojima Island. This work is done in collaboration with the Yamashina Institute for Ornithology, Toho University, Japanese Ministry of the Environment, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and the USGS, Oregon Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit. Impact: This work has shown that birds travel to the Bering Sea, Gulf of Alaska, and along the west coast of North America following the breeding season. These findings have important implications for reducing albatross mortality resulting from commercial fishing operations in this region. During the past 3 years, we have successfully translocated to Mukojima, and reared to fledging, 40 short-tailed albatross chicks that will hopefully provide the nucleus for re-starting this colony that was extirpated by feather hunters.