In this section you can read the latest news from the field, updated by the kakapo team.
05 March 2012
The news doesn't get any better. Rooster, who hatched in 2008 died on February 29th after being flown off Codfish Island to Auckland Zoo for veterinary treatment. No breeding season either by the looks of things this year. World kakapo population = 126.
31 January 2012
More sad news for the Kakapo Recovery team with the discovery of Sandra, an unknown-age kakapo female on Anchor Island. World kakapo population = 127.
18 January 2012
Well, after a successful breeding season last year, all is pretty good with the programme. Unfortunately, we lost two young female kakapo last winter and have just recorded the death of Waynebo, one of our founder Stewart Island adults. World kakapo population = 128.
3 June 2011
Well, after a successful breeding season, the Kakapo Recovery team is thrilled to have nurtured 11 chicks to juvenile status! The total worldwide Kakapo population is now 131!
4 March 2011
The first chick of the season has hatched - great excitement on Codfish Island. 10 fertile eggs remain. No further mating or nesting is expected this season.
1 March 2011
To everyones surprise, a single nest was found on Anchor Island in the last few days. Staff were visiting all females to double check that a mating/nesting had not been missed, when they found Hinetaumai on a nest with two eggs. Unfortunately both eggs were infertile, but it is exciting confirmation that Anchor Island is a site where kakapo will attempt to breed.
25 February 2011
Chances of kakapo breeding on Anchor Island this season are now very slim, as the average mating period has passed. Energies are now focused on Codfish Island where a total of 10 females have mated this season. Eight of these females have now settled down to begin nesting, with staff and volunteers watching around the clock. Keep up with the news of eggs and chicks on the Nesting Table.
30 January 2011
Excitement ramps up on Codfish Island as the first matings of the season take place. Three females have now mated - Lisa, Solstice and Rakiura. The first Artificial Insemination of the season has also taken place. To keep updated with the latest information from the island - check out the Nesting Table
23 January 2011
Whiskas, another unknown aged kakapo, was found dead today. Whiskas was found on Stewart Island in January 1989 and transferred to Codfish Island. Twenty years later, Whiskas was finally successful in fathering chicks - producing 6 chicks in the 2009 season. There are now 120 kakapo and the team are hoping to see the numbers climb again this season.
14 January 2011
Legendary kakapo Richard Henry passed away in late Dec. His death marks the end of an era in Kakapo conservation. Richard Henry was discovered in 1975 in Fiordland and he has contributed vital genetic material to the kakapo population - leaving behind three offspring who carry the unique Fiordland genes. The kakapo population now stands at 121. While his death was not unexpected due to his apparent aging, it comes as a blow to the kakapo team who had hoped he would participate in one more breeding season - either naturally or through the Artificial Insemination programme.
The team are expecting the kakapo to start breeding in the coming weeks - all eyes are now on Richard Henry's offpring - Sinbad, Gulliver and Kuia.
20 May 2010
The kakapo popluation drops to 122 with the loss of Sarah - the first founder Stewart Island female to die since the programme began. Sarah leaves behind three offspring - Ariki, Pounamu and Paddy. Thank you Sarah for your contribution - you will be missed.
24 February 2010
A sad day for the kakapo recovery programme with the loss of Sass, one of the founder Stewart Island birds. Found 30 years ago, Sass has fathered 6 chicks, and has 3 grand-chicks. His passing takes the kakapo population to 123. He will be missed, but his legacy lives on.
15 February 2010
As predicted there has been no breeding activity this summer on either Codfish or Anchor Islands. All 33 chicks from 2009 are now fully independant and doing well. More transfers have been carried out; Anchor is now home to 49 kakapo and Codfish 75.
Ron, our scientist, is heading out to both islands in the coming month to count the fruiting tips on the Rimu (Codfish), Beech, Yellow Silver Pine and Pink Pine (Anchor), on which we will base our predictions for breeding in 2011 - watch this space!
12 October 2009
All 33 chicks are doing well - most are no longer being supplementary fed.
Several adult-kakapo transfers have taken place over the last few months from Codfish to Anchor Island. There are now 44 kakapo on Anchor Island and 79 on Codfish.
The Rimu fruit has been assessed on both islands and we predict there will be no breeding in 2010 - the birds look to be taking a well deserved break.
1st Sept 2009
The last chicks are released from their pens on Codfish island - there are now 33 kakapo chicks from the 2009 breeding season living 'in the wild' (23 on Codfish island, 10 on Anchor island). Staff will continue to provide food at hoppers for the chicks over the next few months.
18th July 2009
The last hand reared chicks leave their Invercargill base to return home to Codfish. The hand rearing facility is decommissioned, as the focus once more returns to the islands.
7th July 2009
For the first time in the history of the recovery programme - kakapo chicks are living on Anchor Island. Four hand reared chicks were transferred to Anchor Island - another six will join them soon. These chicks will spend some time in large pens while they adapt to the living conditions in Fiordland, before being released to explore their amazing new habitat.
1 June 2009
After an intensive hand rearing period, the first chicks have been transferred back to Codfish Island. Here they will be cared for in large pens, whilst they are weaned off the hand rearing diet and onto natural foods.
One chick died after being removed from the nest with a respiratory infection, bringing the total chick number to 33.
20 April 2009
There are now 26 chicks at the Invercargill hand-rearing facility. Eight remain on Whenua Hou/Codfish Island. One of the chicks was taken off the island for emergency surgery after being attacked by a male kakapo. The chick is expected to make a full recovery.
13 April 2009
Another chick was taken off the island over Easter after the team become worried about the chick's health. This addition brings the number being hand raised in Invercargill to 22.
9 April 2009
Twenty one kakapo chicks have been moved from Whenua Hou/Codfish Island to a hand-rearing facility in Invercargill following concerns they could starve. Not enough rimu fruit had ripened on the island and some mothers were stuggling to feed their offspring.
5 April 2009
The kakapo population now sits at 125 after what has been a record breeding season. The last of the chicks has hatched with an amazing 34 chicks in total.
30 March 2009
The fruit on the rimu trees appears to have stalled a little and some of the mums have struggled to keep up to the demands of their chicks, hence the need for hand rearing. There are 11 chicks that are currently being hand reared and these are all doing well.
25 March 2009
Chick numbers are climbing - there are now 28 chicks on Whenua Hou/Codfish Island. Nine fertile eggs remain, all fingers are crossed that they will hatch.
18 March 2009
There are now 20 chicks on the island. Six are being raised by the kakapo team and doing well so far. The 100 benchmark has comfortably been surpassed, with 111 birds now in existence.
16 March 2009
Eighteen kakapo chicks have now hatched bringing the population to 109.
11 March 2009
The chick tally rises to 14 this season, pushing the kakapo population into three figure territory with a grand total of 105 and counting. The kakapo team and its numerous dedicated volunteers are excited to hit the 100 milestone. Celebrations have been brief though as the team focus on ensuring the good health of the new arrivals, and continue to monitor the remaining 23 fertile eggs.
7 March 2009
Seven chicks have now hatched bringing the population up to 98 birds, and possibly 99 in the next day or so.
28 Feb 2009
The 2009 breeding season is progressing well with the hatching of three chicks. In total 63 eggs have been laid, with a 75% fertility rate, 15% higher than the norm. Some of the fertile eggs have died during incubation which is always disappointing, but staff are optimistic that this season might result in a population increase of 30 or more.
25 Feb 2009
The world's kakapo population has been boosted by one with the hatching of this breeding season's first chick. The latest addition brings the small but increasing population to 92, and lots more chicks are expected in the coming weeks.
23 Feb 2009
There are now 23 fertile kakapo eggs, with seven still to be checked to determine if they are fertile or not.
20 Feb 2009
The egg tally has surged to 37 eggs for the season. Of those, 20 are currently fertile and seven are yet to be checked for fertility. The remaining 10 failed eggs have either been deemed infertile or have died early, much like a miscarriage in humans
To date, 26 females have done their best for this iconic species' survival, close to 70% of the breeding females on the island, but there is still plenty of time for the others. The male kakapo are still booming strong to attract mates.
10 Feb 2009
Of the 38 breeding-age females on Whenua Hou/Codfish Island, 19 females have mated.
Sperm from Richard Henry has been used to artificially inseminate a female kakapo in the hope of increasing the genetic diversity of the population.
In sad news, Lisa’s egg failed to hatch. Lisawas the first female to nest and produce eggs. Two of her three eggs were fertile, one egg died very early, but the second died just before it was due to hatch. The egg got off to a shaky start when Lisa had an encounter with a petrel in the nest, it is unknown whether this had an impact on the egg or not.
15 Jan 2009
The breeding season is now in full swing. Lisa is already on a nest of three eggs, she mated with Basil on Christmas night - off to an early start. Two more matings in the last few days have the team very excited and working hard to ensure all is in place for a big breeding season.
1 Nov 2008
The six chicks have been doing well since their release onto Codfish Island. The team is now gearing up for another breeding season. It is unusual for kakapo breeding seasons to fall two years in a row, but here we go again! There is plenty of green rimu fruit on the trees, it looks to be a bumper season.
21 and 22 June 2008
The six chicks are translocated back south to Invercargill on Saturday, and on Sunday are on display for the locals in Invercargill to see. 3000 people came to be enthralled by chicks that are the size of adults, but still walk very clumsily
14 and 15 June 2008
The chicks go on display in Nelson and 5000 people come to see them! The viewing was hosted by The Brook Waimarama Sanctuary.
Friday 2 May 2008
The eldest chick "Mokopuna" dies after a week of illness. Three other chicks are quarantined as they appear to be unwell.
Monday 14 April 2008
The 7 chicks are translocated up to a hand-raising facility in Nelson, closer to team members, supplies and vets
Friday 4 April 2008
The 7th and final egg has hatched, which makes 7 chicks alive and hungry at the moment, although it is still very early days for five of them.
The autopsy on Bill hasn't really told us a clear cause for his death, but we are confident it isn't a disease or something that might risk other kakapo.
Monday 31 March 2008
Saturday was hatch day, with three eggs; each from Aparima, Sue and Cyndy hatching to bring the total number of chicks to five. The great news was that Aparima's egg was the one that was left out of the nest on the stormy night (see It's a kakapo rollercoaster!) - and it survived!
Monday 17 March 2008
87 kakapo - today there are 87 kakapo in the world. Lisa's egg hatched and the chick is doing well.
Friday 14 March 2008
100% egg fertility! The amazing news is that all of the eggs that have been laid this breeding season are fertile. A total of 10 eggs have been laid, and Cyndy put heaps of effort in by laying three. Unfortunately only 8 of the 10 are alive now, with one of Aparima's dead, along with one of Lisa's.
Friday 7 March 2008
The number of eggs laid now totals 9, but one of Lisa's has died early-incubation. Five of the remaining live eggs are known to be fertile. Unfortunately there haven't been any matings recorded for two weeks.
The National Kakapo Team are in full preparation for a breeding season to occur in summer 2008
Reports of a stoat seen on Anchor Island. As a result, ten females were translocated from Anchor Island to Whenua Hou. If a breeding season occurs in 2008, these females will be exposed to the goings-on, hearing booming etc.
Most males boomed to some degree on Anchor Island, no booming heard on Whenua Hou
August and September 2006
June to September 2005
Translocation to Anchor Island of birds resident on Pearl Island and Te Kakahu/Chalky Island. These islands will no longer be managed for kakapo.
February to June 2005
Breeding season with four chicks raised - Kumi, Yasmine, Pura, Pounamu. Otherwise there was a high rate of infertile eggs.