Thursday, August 11, 2022

Kakapo numbers rise to 252

The Kakapo Recovery team are celebrating the results of the second biggest breeding season which has seen the Kakapo numbers rise to a hugely impressive 252. Here's the Otago Daily Times article.
Conservation Minister Poto Williams said she was pleased with the numbers as there were now more of the birds than there had been for almost 50 years.
"There is an all-hands-on-deck approach to saving kakapo.
"This has been the second-biggest breeding season, leading to the highest number of birds since the 1970s, but we can’t take our eye off the ball."
The season’s 55 kakapo chicks were added to the official population only when they reached 150 days old, she said.

Tuesday, March 05, 2019

Flying kākāpō sperm

This episode of the wonderful Kakapo Files Podcast details their spectacular efforts at harvesting sperm from male Kakapo, then using drones to whizz them across the island to artificially inseminate a female far away. For the famous flightless parrots who've forgotten that they've forgotten how to fly, this may be the ultimate irony. Do check out the podcast, it's been a fascinating insight into what's turning out to be a record breeding season.
Flying kakapo sperm - a world first. DOC's Kakapo Recovery Team manager Deidre Vercoe with 'spermcopter' drone pilot Anton Marsden, and sperm expert Andreas Bublat holding a tiny vial of kakapo sperm. Photo: RNZ / Alison Ballance

Monday, March 04, 2019

Northern white rhinos: could science save the sub-species?

We stumbled upon this article on the BBC about a current initiative to harvest eggs from the two remaining female Northern White Rhinos, fertilize them with sperm from a deceased male, and implant any resultant embryos into a Southern White Rhino surrogate. We wish them the best of luck!

Monday, August 06, 2018


A new, updated edition of Alison Ballance's Kākāpō book comes out in September and is available for pre-order now from Potton & Burton!
New Zealand’s threatened night parrot, the kākāpō, has been the focus of a remarkable conservation effort that has seen the bird’s population rise from a perilous low of 51 aging birds to three times that number. Kākāpō are unique and unusual birds. Long-lived, flightless heavyweights, they only breed every two to four years, and survive on just a small number of predator-free island sanctuaries.
A dedicated team of rangers and scientists know every kākāpō by name, and people from around the world follow this pioneering conservation programme on social media. Every new chick is celebrated, every death is mourned, and the antics of the most famous kākāpō of all, Sirocco, make headlines. Natural history writer and broadcaster Alison Ballance has been involved with kākāpō since the mid-1990s, and has a unique insight into the birds and their human minders. In this fully updated edition of Kākāpō, she follows the fall and rise of one of the world’s most unusual birds, from the brink of extinction through a roller-coaster ride of hope and loss, to today, when the species has a bright future ahead. These are exciting times for kākāpō and after 30 years of intensive management the Department of Conservation’s Kākāpō Recovery team hope they are about to do themselves out of a job.

Sunday, August 05, 2018

Brian Cox Meets An Aye-Aye

Here's a lovely clip of Professor Brian Cox with an Aye Aye lemur in this clips from the BBC "Wonders of Life" series. Brian gives us a nice close up of his long bony finger.

Saturday, August 04, 2018

Lisa vs Tutoko at the kakapo feeder

Here's some very nice new footage of Kakapos Lisa and Tutoko feeding at special supplementary feeding stations. 2018 is still looking like it's going to be a very good breeding year. Fingers crossed!

Friday, August 03, 2018

Last Chance to See - Netflix USA

A reminder that the wonderful Last Chance To See TV series sequel to the original radio series is currently available on Netflix in the USA. For now it's just the original 6 episode series from 2009, and not the follow up "Return of the Rhino" episode.  It's a great series, presented by Stephen Fry and Mark Carwardine, and well worth checking out if you've never seen it before.