Friday, April 15, 2011

Kakapo's future may lie with ailing chick

Stuff.co.nz has an interesting article (and video) about 2011 kakapo chick "Solstice One" who has been suffering with poor health.
the chick might be suffering from "fatty liver", which can happen when rangers supplement the adult kakapo population's food sources. "It can be deadly – there was a chick a few years ago that died from it."

Kakapo have a 100 per cent herbivorous diet and rely on rimu fruit for much of their nutrition. In years when rimu trees fail to bear enough fruit, rangers give the birds pellets, but these can be too rich in protein and energy for the baby birds to tolerate.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Mountain Gorilla Population Growing - 786 and counting

The number of mountain gorillas in the world has increased by more than 26% in regions in eastern Africa, according to a survey released in January. CNN has this report.
This increase brings the world population to 786 mountain gorillas, the organization said.

"The mountain gorilla population has made an absolutely remarkable recovery. We are very pleased to see yet another increase in the numbers of this critically endangered species," said Allard Blom, a director with the World Wildlife Fund.

Save The Rhino! An Introduction with Mark Carwardine & Martina Navratilova

A short film describing the work of UK charity, Save the Rhino International.

Save The Rhino! An Introduction with Mark Carwardine & Martina Navratilova from Gordon Main on Vimeo.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Don Merton, 1939 – 2011

It is with great sadness that I have to report the passing of Don Merton this weekend. Don saved the Chatham Island Robin from extinction, and was instrumental in getting the current kakapo recovery going. He was clearly quite a character and his appearance in the TV series of Last Chance To See was very inspiring. Here is the DOC media release. He will be greatly missed.
Don Merton revolutionised methods which brought the black robin back from a single female on a remote island in the Chathams to a flourishing population of more than 200 today.

He also led the team responsible for discovering the last kakapo in Fiordland and managing their recovery through an innovative breeding programme on protected islands. He worked to save South Island saddlebacks from extinction, and used his knowledge to help other species both in New Zealand and across the world.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Eleven Kakapo Chicks Hatched - 131 and counting

Here's some wonderful news from Codfish Island. Eleven fluffy Kakapo chicks have made their entrance in recent weeks, and we now have 131 Kakapos in the world. 3news.co.nz has the full story.
The arrival of 11 new kakapo chicks this breeding season has been welcomed by Conservation Minister Kate Wilkinson.

The new arrivals will boost the world population of the rare native parrot to 131 birds.
[...]
The chicks - including potentially two conceived through ground-breaking artificial insemination techniques - have all hatched in the past few weeks.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Don Merton terminally ill

I was very sad to learn this week that acclaimed conservationist Don Merton is very ill with pancreatic cancer and is being cared for at his home by wife Margaret. The Dominion Post has the story. My prayers are with him and his family at this difficult time.
Friends and conservationists have been paying tribute to 72-year-old Dr Merton, describing his achievements as extraordinary, world-leading and inspirational.

He has previously credited a childhood fascination with his grandmother's canary as the spur behind a career in saving some of the country's most endangered birds.

His idea to move eggs from the nests of Chatham Island black robins to tomtit nests saw the species recover from a point at which there was only one breeding pair left in the 1980s. Later, his determination to save the kakapo meant the last remaining birds from Fiordland were moved to a predator-free island.