By: Ann Kunz
Yesterday we admitted an adult Indian yellow-nosed albatross who had been spotted on the main beach at Southbroom.
The Indian Yellow-nosed albatross is fairly common off southern Africa year-round and ventures further north in winter. It is the most common albatross species off KZN. Unless they are in trouble, they are not usually encountered on our beaches. This particularly magnificent bird was without doubt in trouble and in need of a helping hand.
Although we do not know whether our patient was male or female, we referred to him as male and called him Albert.
Albert was initially taken to local veterinarian, Dr Leon Bruggeman (Margate Veterinary Hospital) who did a preliminary health assessment. He did radiographs to see if there were any fishing hooks or other foreign bodies present. The bird was thereafter transported to uShaka Sea World courtesy of the lower South Coast SPCA.
He presented very lethargic, which was a cause for concern. He did not have any fractures nor external injuries and his radiographs identified no internal fishing hooks. It was possible that he could have been exhausted after being windblown out at sea, said Dr Francois Lampen.
The animal health team administered fluids, fish gruel and left him to rest for the night. Unfortunately, this morning he continued to appear lethargic and did not seem to recover despite their efforts and unfortunately, passed away.