Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


Young kakapo head for Aphrodisiac Isle

Fri, 2 Jul 2004

Young kakapo head for Aphrodisiac Isle

2 July 2004

Department of Conservation staff will transfer 17 kakapo, among the most threatened bird species in the world, between two remote islands tomorrow (NOTE: Saturday July 3) to improve their breeding prospects, with a second transfer of birds planned for Tuesday July 6. The 17 kakapo are being moved between Whenua Hou (Codfish) Island near Stewart Island and Te Kakahu (Chalky) Island in Fiordland.

The DOC team leader for the Comalco-sponsored Kakapo Recovery Programme, Paul Jansen, says the transfers will improve the chances of more frequent breeding for kakapo, by exposing 19 young kakapo hatched in 2002 early in life to a beech forest habitat. "Rimu masts (prolific seeding events) are a known trigger for kakapo breeding and usually occur each 3-5 years. Beech masts occur more often - on a one to two year cycle.

"As with people, kakapo may learn things best early in their lives. By moving the 2002 chicks to a beech forest environment, we hope they will learn about new things such as feeding in beech forest and considering beech seed as a trigger for breeding - a sort of kakapo aphrodisiac. Because beech produces seeds more often than rimu, we hope that we can make kakapo breed more often by teaching them that beech is a suitable food to support chicks." There is no beech forest on Whenua Hou.

At the same time, older birds with value to the kakapo breeding programme are being relocated to Whenua Hou in preparation for a predicted rimu mast in 2006. "As kakapo have a mating system where males compete for females, some males have been dominating the breeding stage" says the kakapo team's scientist Dr Graeme Elliott.

"We have now moved some dominant males away from the breeding arena, and are going to relocate our most genetically distinct males (Richard Henry and Piripi) into prime breeding real-estate to give them maximum odds of attracting female attention. The last rimu mast on Whenua Hou was in 2002 and we have high hopes for a masting event in 2006." Moving kakapo between islands is currently necessary because of the limited space on both of the current kakapo islands (Whenua Hou and Te Kakahu).

To give kakapo more room to roam, it is hoped to transfer half of the current population to Anchor Island in Fiordland in April 2005. Due to the threat from introduced predators on the mainland, kakapo and many other endangered birds are currently entirely confined to life on pest-free offshore islands..

Kakapo Facts:

-Kakapo are ground-dwelling parrots - they can't fly but they are excellent climbers

-They are the world's biggest parrots, weighing up to 4 kg

-In the breeding season, male kakapo swell up like a porcupine fish and emit a low 'sonic' boom that can travel up to five kilometres

-Kakapo look like green owls, they can hop like a sparrow and growl like a dog, and they're known for their strong fruity smell

-They're nocturnal birds and solitary, gathering only to breed

-They're very long lived - Richard Henry is believed to be nearing 50 years old


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Peters/Ardern Triumph

There are a lot of good reasons to feel joyful about this outcome. It is what so many young voters – the best hope for the country’s future – wanted.

Far more important than the implications for the Economy Gods ( is the dollar up or down? ) last night’s outcome will also mean many, many vulnerable New Zealanders will have a better life over the next three years at least.

Yet the desire for change was in the majority, across the country..>>>More


Labour on its agreement |Peters: Post-Election Announcement Speech | Greenpeace “cautiously hopeful” about new Government | ACT - Madman on the loose | E tū ecstatic | Chamber welcomes the outcome | Greens on their joining Govt | EDS welcomes new govt | Immigrant groups worry | Feds ready to engage new coalition government | Labour Ministers of the Crown announced


Climate: Increasing Greenhouse Emissions Hit NZ

New Zealand is seeing impacts of excess greenhouse gas emissions in our climate and oceans, according to the latest national report from the Ministry for the Environment and Stats NZ about the state of the atmosphere and climate…More>>


Wellington.Scoop: Arrests At Blockade Of "Weapons Expo"

“We encourage people in Wellington to get down to the Westpac Stadium now for a day of awesome peace action. There will be plenty of food, music and activities to keep us sustained through the day.” More>>


Rorschach Restructuring: PSA Taking Inland Revenue To Court Over Psychometrics

The Public Service Association will be seeing Inland Revenue in Employment Court over its intention to psychometrically test employees reapplying for their roles at the department as part of its controversial Business Transformation restructuring plan. More>>


Nuclear Disarmament: Nobel Peace Prize 2017 Awarded To ICAN

Congratulations from iCAN Aotearoa New Zealand to international iCAN, the other iCAN national campaigns and partner organisations, and the countless organisations and individuals who have worked so hard for a nuclear weapons-free world since 1945. More>>


Expenses: Waikato DHB CEO Resigns

An independent inquiry has identified that Dr Murray had spent more than the agreed $25K allocated for relocation costs, and other unauthorized expenses involving potential financial breaches of the chief executive’s obligations. More>>


Wellington.Scoop: Sad About The Trolley Buses?

The Regional Council’s MetLink is today spending money to tell us that it really loves Wellington’s trolley buses, even though they’re all being taken off our roads by the end of this month. More>>


Post-Election: Preliminary Coalition Talks Begin

New Zealand First will hold post-election preliminary discussions in Wellington with the National Party tomorrow morning and the Labour Party tomorrow afternoon. More>>




Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election