- a blog by markus nolf

posts tagged "kakapo"

[posted: Friday, 2010-02-26] [category: nature, photo] [tags: , ]
kakapo sass at his feeding station

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.

[posted: Sunday, 2010-01-03] [category: nature] [tags: , ]
kakapo (strigops habroptilus)
kakapo (strigops habroptilus)

there has been a major breakthrough in the kakapo recovery programme this year: semen specimen were collected earlier last year, and a total of six female kakapo were artificially inseminated, resulting in 2 confirmed successes: two of the fertilized eggs were a direct result of artificial insemination.
AI is especially important because there are a few males who dominate the gene pool of the 124-strong population.


[posted: Friday, 2009-10-09] [category: nature] [tags: ]

nearly 20 years after the book “last chance to see” was published, and 24 years after the bbc radio series of the same title first aired, the kakapo get another boost in publicity by the BBC:
the new tv documentary “last chance to see” revisits the species and looks at conservation successes and failures.
in episode 5, stephen fry and mark carwardine visited new zealand and the kakapo, and it seems like all it took for the rare parrot to get international attention once more, was the remark “you are being shagged by a rare parrot“. :)

Sirocco the kakapo an online phenomenon!
The online world is pretty new to DOC staff, but this week we saw how quickly things can blow up – in a remarkable and positive way!

It started a few days ago, when BBC aired the episode of their new series “Last Chance to See” which featured our favourite kakapo, Sirocco. In fact, what REALLY caught people’s interest, was when Sirocco got a bit ‘up close and personal’ with presenter Mark Cawardine. 650 000 Youtube hits later – and New Zealand’s very own kakapo had been catapulted into the international spotlight.

Within a matter of hours after Sirocco’s starring perfomance on “Last Chance to See”, his Facebook page jumped by another 750 friends, and now boasts 2500 online ‘friends’ who are besotted with kakapo and what we do to look after them here in New Zealand.

full article:

by the way, sirocco now has his own facebook and twitter account.

[posted: Friday, 2009-10-02] [category: nature, video] [tags: ]

filming and photographing the kakapo for the new BBC documentary series “last chance to see“, zoologist mark carwardine becomes part of something unexpected…

Stephen Fry sees photographer get humped by a rare parrot – watch hilarious video

This clip is more suited to the top shelf of a seedy sex shop than part of a nature documentary presented by Stephen Fry.

While filming a kakapo parrot for new BBC programme Last Chance to See, the actor is taken aback when the bird leaps onto a crewmember’s head and starts humping him.

Exploding with laughter, Q1 host Stephen says: “This is one of the funniest things I have ever seen, you are being shagged by a rare parrot.”

The excited kakapo, christened Sirocco, flaps its wings and attempts to mate with the photographer for a full minute before its claws start to draw blood.

Stephen was in New Zealand to record scenes for the wildlife series, based on the search of animals on the brink of extinction.

The kakapo species, known for being fat and flightless, is extremely rare.

Perhaps poor Sirocco should try taking out his frustration on another parrot…


[posted: Friday, 2009-04-24] [category: nature] [tags: ]

Kakapo chick rushed into surgery
It’s been a busy time, with one chick having to be rushed to Invercargill’s Elles Road Vets for emergency surgery after being attacked in its nest on Codfish Island/Whenua Hou last weekend.

The male kakapo’s (Arab) aggressive attack left a 20-day-old kakapo chick (nicknamed Bluster) with a 7cm tear down its side, a 2cm gash to its head and both ends of its big toe missing.
“The gash down its side was almost as big as the chick,” Professor Paul-Murphy said. Elles Road vet nurse Tracey Jennings and clinic owner Sandy Cooper assisted the surgery.

It was the first time Miss Jennings had anaesthetised such a rare bird. “It was pretty nerve-racking but it was amazing too, to be working so closely with a kakapo chick,” she said.

Dr Cooper said her clinic had been helping the recovery team during breeding seasons for the past 30 years.
This year had been particularly busy because it was the highest number of chicks ever to hatch (36 hatched and 33 have survived).


Kakapo chicks relocate to lnvercargill
26 kakapo chicks (last update: april 20, 2009) have been taken to a special hand-rearing facility in Invercargill to secure their chances of survival.

The chicks are among the 34 which hatched on Whenua Hou/Codfish Island this breeding season, bringing the critically endangered kakapo population to 125.
Kakapo recovery team leader Deidre Vercoe said unfortunately not enough rimu fruit had ripened on the island for all 27 mothers to feed their chicks on.

Ms Vercoe said some mothers were struggling to keep up with the demands of their hungry offspring, so in order to ensure their survival some of the chicks are being hand-raised.


[posted: Wednesday, 2009-03-11] [category: nature] [tags: , ]

there’s a brand-new entry on the kakapo recovery programme website:

11 March 2009
The chick tally rises to 14 this season, pushing the kakapo population into three figure territory with a grand total of 105 and counting. The kakapo team and its numerous dedicated volunteers are excited to hit the 100 milestone. Celebrations have been brief though as the team focus on ensuring the good health of the new arrivals, and continue to monitor the remaining 23 fertile eggs.


[posted: Thursday, 2009-02-26] [category: nature] [tags: ]

this is an exciting time for the kakapo recovery programme:

Kakapo population boosted by two, more chicks on the way
The Kakapo Recovery effort is one step closer to bringing the world’s kakapo population to 100 after the successful hatching of two kakapo chicks.
The latest additions bring the small but increasing population to 93, and lots more chicks are expected in the coming weeks.
As well as the 25 confirmed fertile eggs yet to hatch, there are another eight to be checked and seven more females are ready to nest.

“It will be awesome to bring the kakapo population to more than 100 and all signs are indicating that could very well happen. If this breeding season produces 30 to 40 chicks it will be a huge step in the recovery of this species,” Deidre Vercoe said.

a kakapo chick photo is available at

there’s also a new ranger’s diary entry by deidre mussen.