Another chance to see kakapo

BY AMY MILNE
Last updated 05:00 16/05/2009
BARRY HARCOURT/Southland Times
LOOKING PRETTY: Two of the kakapo chicks, that are likely to be on display next Saturday at the Invercargill Workingmen's Club.

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I spy with my little eye something beginning with K ... kakapo.

Southerners will have the chance to see one of the rarest parrots in the world next Saturday when some of this season's chicks will be on display at the Invercargill Workingmen's Club from 10am to 4pm.

Conservation Department Kakapo Recovery Team leader Diedre Vercoe said being able to share the special birds with the public was a wonderful way to celebrate what has been an incredible breeding season.

"We are still buzzing about the population passing 100, and the rediscovery of Rangi (a male kakapo who had not been seen on the island for about 20 years) was another incredible moment."

A similar public day held last year at the club attracted more than 3000 people and Ms Vercoe hoped this year would be just as successful.

They hoped to have three chicks on display in the morning and two in the afternoon. Exact numbers would depend on how well the birds coped with the attention, she said.

Of the 33 chicks hatched this season, 20 were male and 13 female. The recovery team had hoped for more females but was still pleased with the results, she said.

The Kakapo Recovery Programme is a partnership between the Conservation Department, Rio Tinto Alcan NZ and Forest and Bird.

KAKAPO INFO

The small but increasing kakapo population sits at 124 after this 2008-09 breeding season produced a record 33 chicks.

A total of 71 eggs were laid this season 50 were fertile but 14 failed (embryos dead before hatching).

From the total of 36 chicks hatched, three died and 26 are being hand-raised in Invercargill, while seven are being raised by their mothers on Whenua Hou/Codfish Island.

Eleven of the 26 were to be transferred back to the island at the end of this month.

The previous biggest season was in 2002 when 24 chicks hatched. wKakapo Recovery is a partnership between the Conservation Department, Rio Tinto Alcan New Zealand and Forest & Bird. The partnership, signed in 1990, is one of DOC's longest-running conservation partnerships.

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