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Forest & Bird names Hou the kakapo chick

13 November 2009 – Wellington
Forest & Bird media release for immediate use

Forest & Bird names Hou the kakapo chick

Forest & Bird has named “its” kakapo Hou (meaning fresh and new) in celebration of the bumper crop of kakapo hatched last season.

Last breeding season was a record one for the kakapo, with 33 kakapo chicks surviving, taking the total kakapo population over the milestone 100 mark for the first time in decades – they now number 124.

To recognise the contribution of groups involved in the Kakapo Recovery Programme, which has helped bring the kakapo back from the brink of extinction, each of the conservation groups, core volunteer workers, sponsors and iwi have been allowed to name a kakapo.

Forest & Bird held a competition among its staff and supporters to name “its” kakapo, and the winning name was Hou – which means “fresh, recent or new” and “feather”.

The name also refers to Whenua Hou/Codfish Island, the offshore island on which the kakapo chicks live, protected from the introduced predators that threaten them on the mainland.

Forest & Bird Communications Manager Helen Bain says “Hou” was chosen because it worked on several levels as an apt name for a kakapo chick, symbolising a new hope for restoring the kakapo population to a healthy size.

“While the kakapo is still critically endangered, the success of the last breeding season brings new hope that this wonderful and unique bird will actually have a future. We wish Hou well and hope he or she will play an important part in helping save his or her species from the brink of extinction.”

Other names on the shortlist were “Rimu” (the food source that is the mainstay of the kakapo’s diet) and “Ataahua” (meaning beautiful). “Gerry” was nominated by Labour MP Charles Chauvel after Energy Minister Gerry Brownlee, who wants more mining on conservation land. Mr Chauvel’s reasoning was “because the kakapo, like Gerry, is always fossicking around on conservation land”.

The Kakapo Recovery Programme is a partnership between Forest & Bird, the Department of Conservation and Rio Tinto, and aims to restore the kakapo population to a level where it is no longer under threat of extinction.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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