NZ efforts to save kakapo impress zoologist

Last updated 23:56 09/01/2009
JOHN HAWKINS/135627
SCARS AND ALL: Zoologist Mark Carwardine after landing back in Invercargill following four days filming the endangered kakapo on Codfish Island.

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Efforts to save New Zealand's endangered kakapo were among the most hands-on recovery schemes in the world, a visiting zoologist said yesterday.

British zoologist Mark Carwardine yesterday returned from Codfish Island, having spent the past four days there filming the endangered birds.

Mr Carwardine and a documentary crew from the BBC, including actor Stephen Fry, travelled to the island at the start of the week to get an in-depth look at the kakapo recovery scheme, filmed as part of a BBC documentary called Last Chance to See. The documentary provides a look into the progress of some of the world's most endangered species and comes 20 years after Mr Carwardine and author Douglas Adams travelled to the same locations to view the same animals.

Returning from Codfish Island yesterday, Mr Carwardine, who now sports a series of impressive "kakapo scars" said he was impressed with New Zealand efforts to save the kakapo and said it was one of the most hands-on recovery schemes he had seen.

Experiencing New Zealand's famous four seasons in one day while on the island, Mr Carwardine said the team, which included four crew and a variety of rangers, had accomplished what it had set out to do track the progress of the kakapo.

"We got great footage of Sirocco and lots of good interviews with the rangers and their volunteers," he said.

The rest of the world could learn a lot from the way New Zealand conducted its recovery schemes, and other countries were now starting to take notice of initiatives being conducted in the south, he said.

The team travelled to Queenstown last night and would spend today flying over Fiordland to view what used to be the main home of the kakapo, he said. From there it would be on to the Chatham Islands, before departing for Mexico.

Filming for the documentary, which has already included time in the Amazon, Africa, and Madagascar, would wrap up in April, he said.

The series would air in the UK in September, he said.

 

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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