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First Kakapo Chick Of The Season Hatches

The first kakapo chick in three years has hatched, Conservation Minister Sandra Lee announced today.

“I am delighted to announce that an egg Flossie was nurturing on Codfish Island/Whenua Hou in Southland has hatched and we have footage of a live kakapo chick, which has been temporarily named F1.

“This is the first chick hatched in the three years since the last kakapo breeding season in 1999 and raises the world kakapo population from 62 to 63 birds.

Ms Lee said Flossie was sitting on another two eggs, expected to hatch within the next six days.

“The hatching of the first chick is great news and kicks off what Department of Conservation staff expect to be the best kakapo chick season ever.

“My Department tells me that there are now 18 females sitting on 53 eggs (as at 5pm 19 February 2002).

“This chick, and the others following it, stand the best chance ever of making it to breeding age due to the intensive effort that has been put both into kakapo over the past decade, and - even before that - into making Codfish/Whenua Hou an island sanctuary.

“Codfish/Whenua Hou shows the positive outcome of pest control management. This island had possums and rats, against which kakapo wouldn’t have stood a chance. However possums were eradicated in 1984 and rats in 1999, making this one of the safest possible natural environments for these kakapo to thrive in.”

Ms Lee said she also wanted to acknowledge the contributions of Comalco New Zealand, which sponsors the Kakapo Recovery Programme, as well as the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society of NZ and the NZ Conservation Authority. She said the recovery programme had enabled significant research into kakapo and allowed more intensive management of the species.

"This hatching augurs well for one of the rarest species on earth," Ms Lee said.

Ends

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