I've finally put the mystery of the Kakapo numbers to bed. A contact at the Stewart Island Visitor Center sent me a lovely email which answers a question that has been bugging me for a while - Do we have 86 or 87 Kakapo Parrots?
In 2004 the number of Kakapo Parrots stood at 86. Unfortunately, 3 birds (Aroha, Vollie and Aurora) died from a bacterial infection (Erysipelas) leaving just 83 birds.
Then widespread delight in 2005 when 4 chicks were successfully hatched - F1 and F2 from Flossie, MM2 from Margaret-Maree, and S1 from Sarah. That brought us up to 87. Or so we thought.
Turns out, that in 2005, an adult bird (Gunner) died from fungal toxins, leaving the current population back at 86 (41 females, 45 males).
So there we go. 86 it is! Mystery solved. 2006 was not a successful breeding season, so let's hope for better luck in 2007.
More information (as ever) at The Kakapo Recovery Programme website.