An important time of year for the Kākāpō 

An important time of year for the Kākāpō 

Are breeding numbers set to soar?


Hot on the heels of Valentine’s Day comes more good news from Cupid. New Zealand’s beloved kākāpō, 2020 Bird of the Year winner (and recipient of recent funding from our Soar Initiative), is currently in the middle of successful breeding season. 

Love hasn’t exactly been ‘in the air’ in the southern kākāpō sanctuary. It’s the world’s only flightless parrot, after all. However, the early signs are positive that this breeding season may well be a bumper one for the endangered parrot. 

Early this year the first chick hatched on Whenua Hou, a small island predator-free reserve west of Rakiura/Stewart Island. While the chick, called Pearl-A-1-2022, was only discovered in February the apparent growth of fluff points to a January birthday. 

DOC’s Kākāpō Recovery Team, Ngāi Tahu and many other supporters have been working for decades to ensure this remarkable species endures. In 1995 there were just 51 birds left. With this birth there were 202 birds.

Over the last two weeks the number has swelled further, with 11 more chicks successfully hatching. Of the 131 eggs that have been discovered this season 67 have been confirmed as fertile. It is hoped that the first dozen chicks will soon be joined by many more, with staff looking forward to a number between 30 and 50 fledglings this season in 2022.

While this is all obviously good news for the kākāpō there is still a huge amount of work to be done – and considerable assistance from everyone is needed. Scientists, rangers, volunteers and donors all have a big role to play.

We are proud to support the Kākāpō Recovery Programme as part of The Soar Initiative, Topflite’s charitable programme that provides regular funding to important New Zealand conservation organisations.

If you’d like to know more about how you can support the kākāpō have a look at DOC’s donation page here.


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