Webcam star albatross chick home bound

9:18 pm on 2 February 2017

A Royal Albatross chick that developed fly strike is recovering after being looked after by Department of Conservation staff.

The chick became infested with maggots when it was only a few days old, the Department of Conservation's threatened species ambassador, Nicola Toki said.

"Our rangers got to it really quickly, they removed the maggots, they cleaned it up, they put it into intensive care."

DoC rangers did a bait and switch by placing another chick in the nest so the parents would keep returning to the nest and keep up the feeding cycle.

The rangers nursed the newborn chick back to health.

A sick chick at the Otago albatross colony is being watched over with a webcam.

Viewers watched over the sick chick via a webcam. Photo: Supplied

"I am very pleased to report that the chick is doing well. It was a bit touch and go this week and that has been a little bit frightening for us," Ms Toki said.

The chick has been the new star of DoC's 'Royal Cam'; a live streaming video broadcast from the northern royal albatross colony at Taiaroa Head near Dunedin.

Ms Toki said broadcasting to the world helped to raise awareness about their work, but it was hard to predict when things would go wrong, such as an albatross chick getting fly strike.

"I guess one of the risks if you like about putting... a window into our work is that sometimes it does go wrong. I'm okay with that... nature is hard and the work that we do does sometimes deal with bad outcomes because there are a lot of threats out there. Hot summers mean lots of flies, which means they can infest on our chicks."

The royal albatross with their foster chick.

The royal albatrosses with their foster chick. Photo: Department of Conservation

Royal Cam had over 600,000 views on YouTube in 2016, with about 120 people watching the live stream at any moment.

"There was something about the albatross that captured people in ways that we could never have imagined," Miss Toki said.

"We are just so pleased to be able to share what we do with New Zealand and the rest of the world."

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