Intervention by Department of Conservation staff has saved 17
of 26 royal northern albatross in the past year.
Taiaroa Head's royal albatross colony is the only mainland
albatross breeding colony in the southern hemisphere.
The area is a protected reserve where Doc staff closely
monitor the lives of the massive seabirds.
Doc ranger Lyndon Perriman said last season 35 pairs produced
37 eggs, and 26 chicks survived to leave the colony.
A review had shown intensive management of the chicks had
saved at least 17 of the 26.
''Without assistance they would not have survived.''
Mr Perriman and staff closely monitored the birds, returning
eggs to nests if they rolled out, removing maggots which can
kill chicks and providing supplementary feeding when one or
both parents did not return in a timely manner to feed a
Last season, eggs were lost because of heat, eight chicks
were fly-struck, requiring maggot removal, and two required
long-term supplementary feeding four times a week.
The work would be needed until the population reached a size
where it could sustain itself despite some losses, he said.
There were about 200 albatross in the colony but several
hundred pairs would be needed before Doc could reduce
management, he said.
This season 33 eggs had been laid and 32 tested and found to
be fertile. The last chick left the colony on October 14 and
the first egg was laid 12 days later.
This season's eggs are due to hatch in January.