The Kākāpō Makes a Comeback

Thanks to new conservation technologies, the Critically Endangered Kākāpō has had a record-breaking breeding season.

Conservationists and parrot lovers worldwide delighted in the renewed breeding success of the Critically Endangered Kākāpō thanks to novel methods in 3D-printing technology. Now, we can rejoice once more! A recent update indicates this year has continued to be a record-breaking year for Kākāpō breeding and is proving to be one of the longest breeding seasons in recent years.  

Sirocco and handler, Donna. Credit: Department of Conservation

Not only is this breeding season unusually long, it started early, too. Andrew Digby, a science adviser on DOC’s Kakapo’s Recovery Program commented on the thrilling development:  

It’s been going on for a long time…we had our first mating before Christmas, the first chick hatched on the January 30th, the earliest a chick had ever hatched.” 

In fact, more than 70 chicks have been born so far this season. Though not all will survive into adulthood, there is sure to be a substantial population increase for the Kākāpō. Exciting news, given Kākāpō populations were diminished drastically by the introduction of invasive stoats and feral cats in the 19th century.  

Sirocco, the beloved Kakapo spokesbird Credit: Department of Conservation

The young chicks are being trained by conservation staff to acquire better coordination skills and Digby says they will be inquisitively exploring the dedicated island sanctuaries in New Zealand in no time:  

Those sorts of skills and the balance and learning how to cope with the New Zealand bush is quite a big skill. When they’re at this stage…they look pretty cute, they’re like bumbling puppies at the moment.” 

This is a huge win for conservation efforts in New Zealand. This new development demonstrates what is possible for endangered species all over the world.

Source: GMA News Online
Featured Photo: A portrait photo of a Kākāpō Credit: Frank Wouters

About Stephanie Dittrich

Stephanie Dittrich is a current senior in Environmental Studies at UC Santa Cruz and a transfer student from De Anza College. She is also currently pursuing a Certificate of Achievement in Geospatial Technologies and a second Associates Degree in Graphic Design from Foothill College. She has worked in multiple marketing and design focused roles at environmental nonprofits as well as the Genomics Institute at UC Santa Cruz. She just finished spending 3 months in Costa Rica conducting field work where she did an independent research project and wrote a scientific paper about flight response time in the Morpho peleides butterfly. In her spare time, Stephanie enjoys working on creative photography and design projects, often centered around wildlife photography, as well as more experimental and contemporary subject matter.

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