Extinct in our lifetime?
Yes, quite possibly if we don't act now to halt this needless slaughter.
Albatross populations are crashing, with longline fishing driving many of these ocean wanderers to an early, watery grave.
Every year, longline fishing kills tens of thousands of albatrosses. Out of the world's 22 albatross species, 17 have been identified as threatened.
Parent birds are killed, their orphaned chicks die of starvation, and young birds are killed before they can breed.
Extinction of these graceful birds is the only outcome – unless we take urgent action now.
Why are albatrosses so vulnerable?
The answer to this question lies partly in the fact that albatrosses will readily scavenge for their food.
Modern fishing techniques mean large quantities of fish are caught in one go. This catch is usually processed immediately, generating large amounts of fish waste that gets chucked overboard - an attractive meal for seabirds. And the reason that many trawlers are accompanied by a squabbling flock of eager albatrosses and petrels that greedily snatch at everything they can.
The other part of the equation is the fact that albatrosses can't breed fast enough to cope with the rate at which they are being killed.
Other species, with different life cycles, might be able to survive, but albatrosses are long-lived birds (some living up to 60 years). This means that like us they take time to reach breeding maturity - sometimes as long as 12 years.
Coupled with this, they only produce one chick at a time, and several albatross species only breed every other year.
With your help today, however, many of these tragic and needless deaths can be stopped.
Extinction is not a word to use lightly. It means the final, irrevocable disappearance of a species from the face of the earth, never to be seen again or enjoyed by our descendants. We cannot let that happen to the awesome and beautiful albatross. Please support the Save the Albatross campaign today.
Graham Wynne, former Chief Executive of the RSPB