Kakapo in successful return journey

01:43, Jan 31 2009
ISLAND LIFE: Endangered kakapo that were removed from Codfish Island after a food shortage have been successfully relocated to the island.

Six endangered kakapo chicks have returned to Codfish Island following a food shortage that saw them removed from the pest-free sanctuary to ensure their survival.

The chicks, now three months old, were taken to Nelson to be hand reared in special facilities by Department of Conservation staff.

In April it was discovered there was not enough natural food on the island, which is close to Stewart Island, for their mothers to feed them.

More than 8000 people visited the chicks at public viewings held in Invercargill and Nelson.

Technical Support Officer on the Kakapo Team Deidre Vercoe said the chicks' homecoming to the island had been problem free.

The Department said next years breeding season was looking positive, with the possibility of up to 40 chicks being produced. 

"We could have nearly a 50 per cent increase in the world population of kakapo in one year which would be a huge step in the recovery of the species," she said.

The world population of Kakapo currently stands at 91, all of which live on either Codfish Island, also known as Whenua Hou, or Anchor Island in Fiordland.