New Zealand: Rare albatross eggs disappeared without a trace

New Zealand
Rare albatross eggs have suddenly disappeared without a trace

Two albatrosses in New Zealand stand in the grass

Several eggs from a unique albatross colony have disappeared in New Zealand. The northern royal albatross is one of the largest seabirds in the world, with a wingspan of more than 3 meters.

© Ellen Rykers/DPA

Although the colony is monitored, several rare albatross eggs in New Zealand have disappeared without a trace. Officials say there is no evidence they have been eaten by predators. Now the police are investigating.

In New Zealand several eggs of a unique albatross colony have disappeared. The country’s conservation agency noticed four eggs missing during routine checks at Tairoa Head in the South Island — the world’s only mainland site where northern royal albatrosses nest. The site is fenced for protection. The police began investigations, as the Department of Conservation (DOC) announced on Monday.

the colony has been strictly controlled and monitored for years, said Annie Wallace, a spokeswoman for the agency. “It’s strange that eggs disappear without a trace.” So far it is unclear what exactly happened. “We’re collecting security camera footage and speaking to people who may have relevant information,” she said. However, it is assumed that the eggs were stolen as there is no evidence that they were eaten by predators.

The birds are endangered in New Zealand

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

The northern royal albatross is one of the largest seabirds in the world, with a wingspan of more than 3 meters. About 17,000 specimens remain, distributed widely across the Southern Ocean, according to New Zealand authorities. Most breed on islands in New Zealand’s Chatham Islands.


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