Update: the albatross is finishing up rehab in California and hopefully will be heading home soon!
In April a freeloading albatross hitched a ride on an Aloha Marine Lines voyage from Honolulu to Seattle. However, it nearly traded its life for what it saved in physical exertion.
Operations Manager Mark Sheehan first saw the bird when the night crew pointed it out to him after a two-week voyage across the Pacific Ocean. The bird was severely dehydrated and emaciated. Even in its weakened state, it wasn’t too keen on being assisted by a human, so when Sheehan tried to pick the bird up, it bolted.
Luckily, the bird was so weakened that it allowed Sheehan to pick it up (above). “That was fortuitous,” Mark said. “Had it been able to outrun me or was able to fly, it probably would have ended up dead.”
Mark called the Seattle Aquarium and Veterinarian Lesanna Lahner who brought the female bird to the Sarvey Wildlife Care Center in Arlington where it was treated with antibiotics for pneumonia.
It’s likely that the albatross took a break on the barge when it departed Honolulu, then couldn’t get into a spot with enough wind necessary for it to take flight. So it settled in between a couple of containers for the grueling journey.
The albatross has been well cared for at Sarvey and is now ready to return home to Hawaii. Sarvey Wildlife Director Suzanne West is searching for a Coast Guard or commercial flight to get the albatross back to Hawaii for mating season.