Monday, February 09, 2009

Kakapo Parrots: Numbers boosted to 91 with surprise find

Please visit The Kakapo Recovery ProgrammeWell, here's a turn up for the books. In what is proving to be an astonishingly good breeding season for New Zealand's Kakapo Parrots, with 14 eggs laid SO FAR, a male Kakapo by the name of Rangi has been re-discovered, 21 years since he was last seen on Stewart Island.
Rangi's miraculous find by kakapo ranger Chris Birmingham boosts the critically endangered endemic parrot population to 91 and potentially adds important genetic diversity.
[...]
"I followed the booming sound and eventually spotted him. He bolted so I followed him through the supplejack and ferns. Finally, when it was safe, I managed to grab him."

It was only then that he realised the bird's significance because it wore a numbered metal band on his leg. Incredibly, Rangi survived two aerial poison drops during Codfish Island's rat eradication in 1998.
The Rangers have also succeeded in obtaining some low quality sperm from Richard Henry, who is estimated to be 70 years old. They've used the sperm to inseminate a female, with fingers, legs, and everything else crossed for good luck.
Spanish vet Dr Juan Blanco, a world-renowned expert in assisted reproductive techniques in endangered birds, was also on the island developing artificial insemination of kakapo.

He made international history 12 days ago by becoming the first person to artificially inseminate a wild endemic endangered bird. The female kakapo had since laid two eggs, raising hopes of success. The insemination of the kakapo with Richard Henry's sperm was only the second effort at using the cutting-edge technique.
Stuff.co.nz has all the exciting news with predictions for 40 eggs right on track!

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