11 March, 2009
New chicks push kakapo population above 100
Conservation Minister Tim Groser says the long running campaign to save the kakapo has reached a new milestone today with confirmation that the population of threatened birds has cracked through the 100 mark.
The Department of Conservation's Kakapo Recovery Team have been closely watching a handful of chicks born in the past few days on Whenua Hou/Codfish Island - the kakapo sanctuary off Stewart Island.
All the new chicks have survived their first few critical days, meaning the world's kakapo headcount is now officially 103 birds - more than double the total number of kakapo alive a little over a decade ago.
"This is great news - we've still got a long, long road ahead before the kakapo's future is secure but it's a huge milestone for one of the country's favourite birds," said Mr Groser.
Mr Groser said the recovery team are expecting a bumper breeding season this year with hopes of more than 30 chicks hatching over coming weeks.
"Hopefully we'll be able to keep the population over the 100 mark and that is a fantastic reward for all the Department of Conservation (DOC) staff and many volunteers who have worked so hard to build up kakapo numbers over the years."
DOC's kakapo recovery work is actively supported by a partnership involving Forest & Bird and New Zealand Aluminium Smelters.
First signed over twenty years ago, the agreement is one of DOC's longest running conservation partnerships and has already injected over $3 million towards breeding programmes and predator proof sanctuaries for the flightless parrot.
"This milestone shows what can be achieved for conservation when community organisations, private businesses and the public sector work together."