A Prize Battler: The Kakapo
Guest blogger: Campaign Manager for the Kakapo & Kakapo Ranger, Dana Boyte
This is a story about beating the odds and coming out on top. A true New Zealand story. The kakapo is threatened by the very things that make them so unique and amazing.
Their sweet musky scent is far too alluring for cunning stoats and cats and makes them a breeze to track down. And back before the days of mammalian predators the kakapo evolved its near perfect camouflage of mossy green feathers, and its ability to freeze and stay perfectly still when danger approaches as a brilliant defense against predators such as the Haast eagle. Nowadays it makes them sitting ducks and an easy lunch.
But the wise old kakapo survived in the remotest and most rugged parts of New Zealand and brought itself back from the brink (with a little help from some two-legged friends). This last breeding season has increased their numbers by a third, with the successful fledging of 33 chicks from 91 birds. This was a huge increase to the population bringing it to 124, making their future a little bit brighter.
They represent everything we love about being a New Zealander.
- They are unique – it’s hard to compare them to any other animal in the world.
- They are fighters – coming so close to extinction but surviving with the help of hard working dedicated New Zealanders.
- They have a personality and charm all their own with each bird displaying its own quirks, which if you are lucky enough to meet one you can’t help but love.
- They are untroubled birds and they start each day without apparently having a care in the world, unbeknown to them the dangers of the modern world away from their safe haven islands.
Douglas Adams wrote “If you look (a kakapo) in its large, round, greeny-brown face, it has a look of serenely innocent incomprehension that makes you want to hug it and tell it that everything will be alright.” In 1989 for his book “Last chance to see”
They are a wonderful asset to New Zealand and should be treasured as they have managed to capture the hearts of people from across the world, not just in New Zealand.
Vote the Kakapo for your bird of the year.