Ecostore, New Zealand’s leading sustainability brand is throwing its support behind the truly epic ocean-going Toroa Antipodean albatross in this year’s Bird of the Century competition, a variation of the annual Bird of the Year contest, facilitated by Forest and Bird.
Voting opened at 9am this morning and runs for two weeks, closing at 5pm on Sunday the 12th of November.
Seventy-five bird species are in this year’s competition but ecostore, in association with Live Ocean, have singled out the Toroa Antipodean albatross as the most deserving of the candidates. Ecostore, who are managing the campaign for the Toroa Antipodean albatross, are encouraging Kiwis to join them in voting the majestic sea bird into first place.
Aotearoa is the albatross capital of the world. But the Toroa Antipodean albatross which is endemic to New Zealand, is at serious risk of extinction. With the country’s most serious threat classification status of ‘Threatened-Nationally Critical’ the Toroa Antipodean albatross, with its declining population, is the most threatened species of albatross. There are only 5,100 breeding pairs remaining[i].
“This is a tragedy playing out before us, it’s estimated that we’re losing 2,300 of these birds every year[ii],” explains ecostore CEO Pablo Kraus. “Since 2004, it’s estimated 35,000 Toroa Antipodean albatrosses have died[iii], the numbers are in absolute free fall. We’re supporting this campaign out of urgency, to bring awareness to the plight of these magnificent birds and to make their story famous. Winning Bird of the Century is more than a vanity project, it’s a real call to action.”
Ecostore’s long-term partner Live Ocean has been working hard to support efforts to protect the giant seabird. Sailors Peter Burling and Blair Tuke established Live Ocean Foundation out of their deep concern for the health of the ocean and the life in it. The organisation say the number one threat to the Toroa is being killed by long lines from fishing boats. It’s thought climate change is driving the albatrosses to feed in more northern waters where they cross paths with fishing fleets.
Live Ocean co-founder, Olympic and world champion sailor, Blair Tuke says, “As a country we need to turn this around. That means continuing to collect data on where the birds are dying and being prepared to act on it so we’re not tracking these birds to extinction. We can’t be the first country in the world to lose an albatross species. That’s not a race New Zealand should win.”
Live Ocean explain that there are solutions that are proven to work and can have an immediate impact. These include setting fishing lines at night, adding weights near each hook and using a bird-scaring line.
Live Ocean encourage people to ask for albatross-safe tuna and support fishers using albatross-safe fishing methods. Visit Live Ocean’s website to learn about the issue then spread the word and vote for the Toroa Antipodean albatross in this year’s Bird of the Century. The profile gained from winning the competition can help spread the message much further.
FACTS ABOUT THE TOROA ANTIPODEAN ALBATROSS
– Toroa Antipodean albatross has a wingspan of up to 3 metres.
– They can reach speeds of up to 120km/h at sea.
– They can be at sea for up to seven years and can travel up to 170,000km in one journey (that’s almost halfway to the moon!).
– Toroa Antipodean albatross return to their home, the Antipodes Islands of New Zealand to breed.
– Only 5,100 breeding pairs remain.
– It’s estimated that 2,300 Toroa Antipodean albatross die each year.
– Since 2004, it’s estimated 35,000 Toroa Antipodean albatrosses have died.
Voting for Bird of the Century is open now at birdoftheyear.org.nz and closes at 5pm on Sunday the 12th of November. The winner will be announced Monday November 13th.