Date: 16 August 2012
Kākāpō Recovery has been dealt a disappointing blow, following the discovery of another dead bird – the sixth during the past year.
Barnard was over 20 years old and was found dead by kākāpō rangers on Whenua Hou/Codfish Island at the weekend, when they went looking for him for his annual transmitter change.
Kākāpō Recovery programme manager Deidre Vercoe Scott said the team was gutted by Barnard’s death.
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Barnard the kākāpō
Ms Vercoe Scott said his death was a reminder that, although Kākāpō Recovery had achieved much during the past 22 years – increasing the total population from 49 to 131 last year – the kākāpō was still a critically endangered species and vulnerable. And, with an ageing population, an increase in mortality was inevitable.
“We can expect to see the population numbers continue to go up and down for several years to come because quite a few of the birds are possibly very old. The good news is more than half the kākāpō population consists of young breeding age birds and indications are that there will be a breeding season this summer - planning for that is well underway.”
“Kakapo Recovery prides itself on having technology that allows us to monitor our precious population, with minimal interference but we only sight these birds once a year for health checks and a transmitter change.
Barnard was an unknown-age bird, first discovered on Stewart Island in 1982. He fathered eight chicks, including five of the 11 hatched during the last breeding season in 2011. His death sees the kākāpō population reduce to 125.
Conservation in partnership:
DOC’s kākāpō recovery work is actively supported by a partnership involving New Zealand Aluminium Smelters Limited and Forest & Bird.
First signed 22 years ago, the agreement is DOC’s longest running conservation partnership and has already injected more than $3.75 million towards breeding programmes, predator proof sanctuaries and innovative research for the flightless parrot.
Its long term kākāpō recovery goal is to have 150 females at three separate sites, one of which is self-sustaining.