Conservation: The rare eggs of New Zealand albatrosses have disappeared without a trace

Conservation: The rare eggs of New Zealand albatrosses have disappeared without a trace

Several eggs have disappeared from a colony of unique albatrosses in New Zealand. The northern royal albatross is one of the largest seabirds in the world, with a wingspan of more than 3 metres. Photo: Eileen Rickers/Forrest and Bird/Dr

They only nest in one place on Earth – and they’re vulnerable anyway. Now the offspring of the northern royal albatross could be in danger.

WELLINGTON – Several eggs have disappeared from a colony of unique albatrosses in New Zealand. The country’s conservation agency noticed the absence of four eggs during routine checks at Tairoa Head in the South Island – the only site in the world where northern royal albatrosses nest. The site is fenced for protection. Police have launched investigations, the Department of Conservation (DOC) announced Monday.



Annie Wallace, a spokeswoman for the agency, said the colony has been under strict surveillance and oversight for years. “It is strange that the eggs disappear without a trace.” So far it is not clear what exactly happened. “We’re collecting CCTV footage and talking to people who may have relevant information,” she said. However, it is presumed that the eggs were stolen because there is no evidence that they were eaten by predators.

Wallace said large seabirds, called toroa in New Zealand, are endangered across the country. Climate change in particular, but also hunting practices, plastic pollution, and loss of their habitat are affecting them. In addition, they only multiply slowly. “Therefore, all eggs and chicks are important to the population.” The disappearance of the eggs is bad news for all the staff who spend countless hours tending to the birds in difficult conditions.

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The northern royal albatross is one of the largest seabirds in the world, with a wingspan of more than 3 metres. There are still about 17,000 specimens distributed widely across the Southern Ocean, according to New Zealand authorities. Most breed on the islands of the Chatham Islands, New Zealand.

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