Manaaki, the Royal Cam chick for 2022/23 - a bit damp after rain – was officially named on 19 June, World Albatross Day
The small breeding colony of the globally Endangered and Nationally Vulnerable Northern Royal Albatrosses Diomedea sanfordi on the New Zealand mainland at Pukekura/Taiaroa Head is well known as a tourist sight and for its intensive management. Since the 2015/16 season, a 24-hour live-streaming camera operated by the Department of Conservation with the Cornell Lab for Ornithology has been focused on a breeding attempt from incubation through to fledging (click here).
For the current breeding season the camera has been aimed at a colour-banded pair (male - GLY, Green, Lime, Yellow, and female - L, Lime) who have previously raised two chicks. Their 2022/23 chick hatched on 20 January 2023 and identified as a male has been attracting the usual close attention from devoted followers via the live feed and Facebook pages.
Known as “Sweet Pea” on hatching, it has now been given the name Manaaki following a request for names and a public vote (click here). Suggested names had to be submitted with a photograph showing the person entering the name doing something to reduce plastic pollution. “This year's competition is about acting sustainably to reduce how much plastic ends up in our oceans. This also supports this year’s World Albatross Day theme of plastic pollution. The plastic that ends up in our oceans threatens our seabirds. They can be hurt by it, become entangled or mistake it for food for themselves or their chicks. Using less plastic in our daily lives reduces the amount that ends up in our oceans. So, no matter where you are in the world, you can help colonies like the Northern Royal Albatrosses at Pukekura/Taiaroa Head by using less plastic day to day. The action also had to be sustainable. This meant it needed to be a repeatable action, that would not create any negative impact on the environment.”
140 people submitted their name suggestions and 1169 people voted for their favourite from a short list of 10 names. “Manaaki”, which received the most votes at 209, is a te reo Māori word with the meaning of “providing support, protection, and hospitality and showing admiration and kindness”.
A close up view of Manaaki
If the Royal Cam is not showing much action (such as a parent visiting to feed its chick) you can also while away some time completing an online jigsaw entitled “Manaaki Works in the Grasses”. Choose the number of pieces from 24 to 300 to suit your available spare time and level of concentration!
Manaaki does a wing stretch; photographs from the New Zealand Department of Conservation
The most recent news is that on 20 June when 151 days old (from hatching) the Royal Cam chick was weighed at 11 kg, so quite chonky!
John Cooper, Emeritus Information Officer, Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels, 29 June 2023