Millions Captivated By Webcam Footage Of Endangered Albatross Colony

Source: The Guardian/Eleanor Ainge Roy

Photo: AussieActive/Unsplash

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Millions of amateur naturalists around the world have been tuning in to the secret lives of albatrosses as New Zealand rangers employ YouTube in a bid to save the mysterious giant sea birds.

New Zealand conservation teams set up a 24-hour live-stream of an albatross nest at Taiaroa Head on the Otago peninsula in 2016. Three years on, the feed has become an unexpected global hit, with 2.3 million people from 190 countries tuning in to watch the endangered birds rear their chicks on a frigid peninsula at the bottom of the world.

“Someone somewhere in the world is watching 24 hours a day,” says department of conservation (DoC) ranger Jim Watts.

“People watch it in hospitals, in nursing homes. There’s a real intimacy to watching the chicks grow – people fall in love and become invested.”

The northern royal albatross – or toroa in the Maori language te reo – is endemic to New Zealand and is under threat from climate change, fly-strike disease and heat stress.

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Photo: AussieActive/Unsplash

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