The 2017 web cam chick needs a name

Image: Ashleigh Compton | DOC

Introduction

The votes are in and the albatross star of the DOC ‘royal cam’ has been named Tūmanako meaning hope, wish, desire.


DOC staff read some names that didn't quite make the top 5

For the second year running ‘royal cam’ is streaming live from a nest in the northern royal albatross colony at Pukekura/Taiaroa Head near Dunedin.

Since royal cam launched in January 2016 it has received 1.6 million views from audiences in 198 countries.

From 1,672 entries, Te Poari a Pukekura (the Pukekura Co-management Trust) chose the top five names. Tūmanako was selected from the final five by public vote online.

The other four were Arran, Laidir, Raukura and Māia which came in a close second. The names had to reflect the characteristics of the species or their habitat on Otago Peninsula and their importance as a taonga (treasured) species.

Announcing the winner, DOC Threatened Species Ambassador Nicola Toki said it was humbling to see how the chick was touching people’s lives across the globe.

“A number of entrants chose Tūmanako as, in its short life, this chick has shown strength and defiance. It came close to death in its first few days, survived the tail end of a cyclone, has stuck stoically to its own personal hygiene standards and has kept our dedicated rangers firmly on their toes,” says Nicola.

“Once fledged, the chick will face a tough and intrepid life out at sea for many years before returning to land to breed. Tūmanako symbolizes hope and desire for the bird’s ongoing success and future safe return to our shores to start a family of its own.”

As there were four entries for ‘Tūmanako’, DOC staff picked the winner, Marian Bevan from Mapua, at random. Marian will go on a unique tour of the albatross colony at Taiaroa Head. Thanks to Air New Zealand, Larnach Castle and the Otago Peninsula Trust, the prize package also includes:

  • return domestic flights for two to Dunedin
  • one night's accommodation and dinner for two at Larnach Castle
  • a tour of Fletcher House
  • a visit to Glenfalloch Gardens with the rental of a green electric bike, and
  • a little blue penguin viewing tour.

The three others who also submitted the winning name will each receive a cuddly albatross toy and a family pass to the Royal Albatross Centre for a chance to see some of this year’s albatross chicks.

Robyn McDonald, CEO of Otago Peninsula Trust, says, “The Trust is so pleased to support the naming contest with prizes and helping host the winner. Everywhere we go we meet people who are watching royal cam and connecting with the albatross story. It’s such a great advocacy tool, and Tūmanako such a great ambassador.”

Background information

  • DOC manages the northern royal albatross colony with the support of the Otago Peninsula Trust, Te Poari a Pukekura (Pukekura Co-management Trust) and Dunedin City Council. The colony has benefited from decades of DOC’s management and predator control. It has grown from one breeding pair in 1937 to about 50 pairs in 2015. 10,000 seabirds are also thriving at Taiaroa Head, including nationally vulnerable and threatened species like red-billed gulls and Otago shags.
  • The colony is the only mainland place in the world to view northern royal albatross in their natural habitat. There are more than 150,000 visitors a year to the site.
  • We hope to film Tūmanako until it fledges (is ready to fly), about September. The chick is currently left alone on the nest for long periods while its parents are at sea foraging for food.
  • Northern royal albatross is a vulnerable species and an icon of Dunedin. It is a taonga species for Ngāi Tahu. With a wing span of over three metres, northern royal albatrosses are among the largest seabirds in the world.
  • After the chick fledges, its parents will leave the colony and spend the following year at sea. They then return to breed again, completing a two-year cycle.
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