Old boy Sass farewelled.
Sadly we euthanized one of our Stewart Island founder kakapo, Sass, yesterday. Sass had been of relatively poor condition for the last few years and has gone down hill steadily over the last 3 months.
He was extremely light weight, had developed cataracts in both eyes recently, and in the last few days appeared to have been suffering from kidney failure.
As an adult of unknown age, Sass was found in April 1980 and transferred to Codfish Island in July 1987 (along with Nora, he was first to be transferred to Codfish).
He had fathered 6 chicks – ‘Robbie’, ‘Palmersan’, ‘Te Kingi’, ‘Blake’, ‘Kumi’ and ‘Kuihi’. He also had 3 grand-chicks through Kuihi – ‘Awarua’, ‘Waihopai’ and ‘Hokonui’, so his genetics are relatively well represented in the population.
Birds of an unknown age account for 34% of the kakapo population. Seeing some age related mortality is not unexpected, but reminds us of how rare and precious the kakapo are.
Sass’s passing takes the world kakapo population to 123. He will be greatly missed, but his legacy lives on.
update: back in 2005, my friend matthias rohaut was lucky enough to meet sass at his feeding station, and he was also able to take pictures. (matthias got to see more kakapo than any of us). he also gave me permission to post them here, so i’ve uploaded two photos.