A nationally vulnerable Toroa (Northern Royal Albatross) is being cared for at The Nest Te Kōhanga, after being found near Moa Point and brought to the Zoo by Department of Conservation Staff. 

Toroa usually range throughout the Southern Ocean, and are seen in New Zealand’s coastal waters during winter. They are very rarely seen in Wellington as their nesting sites are on the Chatham Islands and at Taiaroa Head on the Otago Peninsula.

Arriving with a very low body condition and a deep injury to its left eye, the Toroa will rely on the expert care provided by our Veterinary Team. Dr Lenting and her team prepare Toroa for surgery

The Team are doing everything they can to save this bird. Its injured eye was too damaged to recover, so they removed it during a procedure to prevent the risk of infection. 

Some species of Albatross have been known to survive in the wild with one eye and it is understood that the way they hunt and forage doesn’t rely solely on the use of both eyes.

Our prognosis for this regal bird is guarded at the moment. Toroa are difficult to rehabilitate, as this species is prone to complications when they are hospitalised. Our Senior Veterinarian, Dr Baukje Lenting, is an avian specialist, and our team has years of experience working with native birds, including sea birds, so it is receiving the best possible care.

Along with the Wandering Albatross, Toroa are the largest seabirds in the world and are renowned for travelling great distances from their breeding grounds to feed – up to 190,000km a year.

Releasing the Toroa back to the wild will be an important step for conservation efforts to save the species, which is classified as nationally vulnerable by DOC.

Saving native wildlife is a crucial part of the work we do at The Nest Te Kōhanga, and returning native animals to the wild is an important contribution to our conservation work. Our goal is to get this bird back to full health and then release it back to the wild once it has recovered from surgery and gained more weight.

Toroa only breed in New Zealand waters, and they usually mate for life even after long separations at sea. If this Toroa already has a mate, they return to the same nesting area each time they breed, so we’re hopeful it will be able to find its mate again.