National News

Rare albatross chick set to take flight

New Zealand conservation rangers are asking international fans of one of the country's most watched chicks to give her a name.

An endangered Northern Royal Albatross, or toroa, chick on South Island's Otago Peninsula has been livestreamed for months as part of a popular 'Royal Cam' project.

"We've had over 1.6 million views on our Royal Cam live stream since December," Department of Conservation (DOC) biodiversity ranger Sharyn Broni said.

"People from 51 countries have watched this feisty chick around the clock as she's been cared for by her devoted parents and grown from a round fluff ball to a nine-kilogram gangly adolescent.

"The chick's dad went missing for over a month and viewers were very worried.

"Luckily, he finally returned, slightly injured, to resume feeding the chick and viewers were overjoyed."

Hatched in January, the fluffy chick is soon to make her first inter-continental journey across the seas.

In September, she will take flight across the Pacific Ocean to South America, and rangers expect she won't return for four years.

The colony on Taiaroa Head began with one breeding pair in 1937, and has grown to more than 60 pairs today.

The toroa is threatened by commercial fishing, plastics in the ocean and climate change.

DOC are running the naming competition, which can be found by googling "Royal Cam name the chick competition", as a way of engaging the public with the endangered bird.

More than 5.4 million people from 199 countries have tuned into the Royal Cam since it was launched in 2016.

© AAP 2020