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Kakapo Population Grows By Thirty-Nine Per Cent

22 May 2002

Prime Minister Helen Clark today congratulated the Kakapo Recovery Programme on a thirty-nine per cent increase in the bird’s population over the past breeding season.

At a function to mark the tenth birthday of the first hand-reared kakapo, Helen Clark announced that 26 kakapo chicks were born in the 2001 mating season. Of those, 24 birds survived, increasing the world population of kakapo from 62 to 86 birds.

The Kakapo Recovery Programme is a Threatened Species Trust Programme partnership between Comalco, the Forest and Bird Society, and the Department of Conservation. The intensive recovery programme began in 1990 with Comalco’s sponsorship.

“A bumper 2001 mating season, when an abundance of fruit produced in New Zealand native species such as rimu, has ensured a healthy kakapo population with twenty of the world population of 21 adult females laying eggs.

“Tribute must be paid to the three organisations - Comalco, the Forest and Bird Society, and DoC – and all the volunteers. Between them they have put a tremendous amount of money and resources into saving the kakapo from extinction.

“The bird remains an endangered species and it would need a number of successful breeding seasons before the population could be considered safe from extinction.

“Seasons like this, however, give all those involved in the Kakapo Recovery Programme great hope for the future of the species,” Helen Clark said.

Ends

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