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Named picked for webcam albatross

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 21/06/2016

An albatross chick that's been the star of a video stream watched by thousands around the world has finally been given a name - Moana.

The female Northern royal albatross hatched at a colony at Taiaroa Head on Otago Peninsula in January - with its life since caught live on web cam, picking up nearly 800,000 views between its website and YouTube.

The Department of Conservation in May called for the public to name the bird and on Tuesday announced the winner.

Threatened species ambassador Nicola Toki said Moana, Maori for an ocean, sea or wide expanse of water, captured the nature of the species and their habitat.

"Northern royal albatross, or toroa, spend most of their lives at sea, covering vast areas of the ocean in search of food and returning to land only to breed and raise their young," she said.

Of nearly 2500 entries, 13 were for Moana, while Rereroa, Kapehu, Kaewa and Kapua rounded off the top five.

"Because viewers have taken such ownership of this chick, we thought it only right they should have the opportunity to give it a name," Ms Toki said.

The winning entrant was a class from Tainui School in Dunedin which get a free trip to visit the albatross colony.

Northern royal albatrosses are among the world's biggest sea birds, with wing spans of nearly three metres.

Once the chick has enough feathers to fly, its parents will leave the colony to spend a year at sea before returning.

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