Motherhood is a wonderful thing. It doesn’t really matter what age or species you are, as giving birth is one of the most important moments in a creature’s life; and if you already guessed where I’m going with this, good for you. According to the baffled reports of ornithologists, sixty-five year old albatross Wisdom hatches 40th chick.
With age comes Wisdom
Sixty five year old Wisdom is a female Laysan albatross that has been around for quite a while. She’s always been impressive, but at the beginning of January she managed to shock scientists once again, as the 6 decade and a half old bird hatched her 40th egg.
Kūkini, named after the Hawaiian word for ‘messenger’, was laid and hatched in Hawaii’s Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, where his father Gooo and his mother Wisdom watched over him. Gooo even incubated the egg for two weeks while the old but brave mother went out gathering food for the little chick.
Scientists had already been surprised back in 2013 when Wisdom hatched her previous egg, but they assumed that it was an uncanny outlier. However, as the sixty five year old bird hatched her 40th egg this February, researchers were simply left baffled.
Even more impressive
Generally, albatrosses don’t live past 60, but Wisdom decided she didn’t care, so she went on living anyway. And it’s not like they’re crabs or other crustaceans that only get bigger with age. No, albatrosses age pretty much like humans, getting weaker with the passing of time.
But wait, there’s more – the Laysan albatrosses reach sexual maturity at age 5, and usually mate when they are between 7 and 10 years old. Wisdom decided she didn’t care about that either, and here she is still mothering over 5 decades past her prime.
The birds also have a very high mortality rate, being considered a near threatened species. Some of the most common killers of these bird are bycatch (the get killed along with the fish they are trying to hunt), invasive species that go after their nests, plastic ingestion, humans, lead poisoning, and even organochlorine contamination.
Despite all of these factors that would suggest that Wisdom should have died a long time ago, not only is she still alive and kicking, and laying and hatching eggs, but she is also going out hunting to assure her chick’s nutrition, while the father is in the nest, taking care of little Kūkini.
Image source: Flickr