Plastic pony toy found in Royal albatross chick’s nest

Close view of Northern royal albatross in flight, Taiaroa Head, Otago Peninsula.

2021-05-03 12:14:09

A Royal albatross chick has had a fortunate escape after a plastic toy pony was served up for its dinner.

Close view of Northern royal albatross in flight, Taiaroa Head, Otago Peninsula.

File picture of a Royal albatross
Picture: Don Mammoser / 123RF

The horse was found within the chick’s nest at Taiaroa Head on Otago Peninsula by the Division of Conservation whereas the birds have been being weighed final week.

Division ranger Sharyn Broni mentioned the 9cm-long plastic toy might have brought on severe damage to the chick.

“The legs might’ve obtained caught within the throat and completed some injury. Additionally plastic has not obtained any meals worth, so something moving into shouldn’t be giving them any diet and we all know from over in Hawaii that chicks can die of hunger from ingesting an excessive amount of plastic,” she mentioned.

It appeared the horse was regurgitated by the dad or mum to feed the chick and may need been in some fish discovered by the dad or mum. Thankfully the chick had not eaten it.

Royal albatross solely took their meals from the open ocean, so it was unclear the place the horse originated.

“We do not know the way lengthy that toy might’ve been on the market – plastic lasts nearly ceaselessly. Increasingly plastic on a regular basis goes into the ocean. It is an growing danger for seabirds and sea life.

“Algae grows on plastic as soon as it is out within the ocean so it smells like their meals as nicely.”

The presence of plastic within the chicks’ nests at Taiaroa Head was turning into an growing drawback.

“It is change into an growing drawback over time, lots of the chicks have regurgitated small bits of plastic, issues the dimensions of bottle caps. However that is undoubtedly the most important and most uncommon piece of plastic we have discovered,” Broni mentioned.

It offered a vital reminder for everybody to take care when disposing of plastic, and take into consideration their consumption as a result of there have been loads of options now out there.

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