Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search


Kakapo Sarah recovers from unfortunate injury

Kakapo Sarah recovers from unfortunate injury

An important breeding kakapo who had the misfortune of injuring her “private parts” when she unintentionally sat on a sharp stick, has been successfully rehabilitated at Auckland Zoo, and is to return to her home on Codfish Island.

A Department of Conservation (DOC) National Kakapo Team member discovered Sarah and her predicament in late October when he tramped out to her Whetu Track home to do a routine check-up on her. She was urgently flown to Auckland to be treated by the vet team at the zoo’s New Zealand Centre for Conservation Medicine (NZCCM) - the provider of veterinary services for the kakapo recovery programme.

“Sarah was in a potentially life-threatening state when she arrived. She had a nasty wound to her cloaca and had lost a lot of weight through not being able to forage,” says vet, Dr John Potter.

“She’s responded exceptionally well to treatment and has proven to be a quick healer. She’s also been self-feeding on kumara, apple, nikau berries and other native plants, which has meant that we’ve been able to keep tube feeding her with high-protein parrot formula to a minimum. Kakapo don’t generally self-feed in a captive situation, so that’s been especially pleasing. By nature, Sarah is a very feisty bird, and I think this has also contributed to her fast recovery. Since arriving she has put on over 170 grams, and now weighs over 1140 grams,” says Dr Potter.

Programme manager for the National Kakapo Team, Deidre Vercoe, says while Sarah is unlikely to breed this coming season due her needing time to recover from this recent accident, she is a good breeder and is likely to breed again in the future.

Sarah, who is being flown home tomorrow morning, is one of the original founder kakapo birds from Stewart Island. Discovered there in 1989 and relocated to Codfish Island, she has produced two offspring in the past six years – six-year-old male Ariki, and three-year-old female, Pounamu.

The total kakapo population is currently 90 birds, but Ms Vercoe says that with the bumper breeding season expected this coming summer, due to the heavy fruiting of rimu trees, that figure is likely to rise.

Ms Vercoe, along with a team of kakapo experts from around the country including zoo vets, has been at Auckland Zoo this week for a kakapo disease risk-assessment workshop in preparation for the coming season.

While DOC already has stringent protocols in place, this is serving as a review, and to assess if any further measures need to be implemented.

About the kakapo
The critically endangered kakapo is the rarest parrot species in the world.
Total population: 90 on two islands – Codfish Island (Whenua hou) off the north west coast of Stewart Island, and Anchor Island in Dusky Sound, Fiordland.

Kakapo live many decades. How long is uncertain, but mortality figures indicate that the average life span is 90 years. Most original founders from Stewart Island, still living, were found as adults between 1980 and 1989. The last remaining Fiordland male was found in 1975, at the time an adult of unknown age.

There are 44 female and 46 male kakapo. Twenty females and 22 males originate from Stewart Island, and one male comes from Fiordland. The rest have been produced on sanctuary islands, primarily since 1997. No other kakapo are known to survive in their original habitat, due to predation by cats, stoats and rats.

Breeding: The kakapo population reached an all-time low of 51 birds in 1995. Earlier this year (2008) six chicks were produced from five nests on Codfish Island, a very minor breeding season.

A large breeding season is anticipated next year on Codfish Island because of a very heavy crop of rimu fruit presently forming on the trees. Breeding seasons in successive years is a very unusual event. The last large breeding season was in 2002, when 24 chicks were produced.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Life And Times Of Peter Dunne

In the end, Mr Pragmatic calmly read the signs of impending defeat and went out on his own terms. You could use any number of clichés to describe Peter Dunne’s exit from Parliament.

The unkind might talk of sinking ships, others could be more reminded of a loaded revolver left on the desk by his Cabinet colleagues as they closed the door behind them, now that the polls in Ohariu had confirmed he was no longer of much use to National. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Labour’s Campaign Launch

One of the key motifs of Ardern’s speech was her repeated use of the phrase – “Now, what?” Cleverly, that looks like being Labour’s response to National’s ‘steady as it goes’ warning against not putting the economic ‘gains’ at risk. More>>


Lyndon Hood: Social Welfare, Explained

Speaking as someone who has seen better times and nowadays mostly operates by being really annoying and humiliating to deal with, I have some fellow feeling with the current system, so I’ll take this chance to set a few things straight.. More>>


Deregistered: Independent Board Decision On Family First

The Board considers that Family First has a purpose to promote its own particular views about marriage and the traditional family that cannot be determined to be for the public benefit in a way previously accepted as charitable... More>>


Transport Policies: Nats' New $10.5bn Roads Of National Significance

National is committing to the next generation of Roads of National Significance, National Party Transport Spokesperson Simon Bridges says. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Why Labour Isn’t Responsible For Barnaby Joyce

As a desperate Turnbull government tries to treat the Barnaby Joyce affair as a Pauline Hanson fever dream – blame it on the foreigners! We’re the victims of the dastardly New Zealand Labour Party! – our own government has chosen to further that narrative, and make itself an accomplice. More>>


Rail: Greens Back Tauranga – Hamilton – Auckland Service

The Green Party today announced that it will trial a passenger rail service between Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga starting in 2019, when it is in government. More>>


Housing: Voluntary Rental Warrant Of Fitness For Wellington

Wellington City Council is partnering with the University of Otago, Wellington, to launch a voluntary Rental Warrant of Fitness for minimum housing standards in Wellington, Mayor Justin Lester has announced. More>>





Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election