Wednesday, August 30, 2006

CHOCOLATE - Endangered Species Chocolate Company

Many thanks to my friend Gwen who recently sent me a few bars of chocolate from the Endangered Species Chocolate Company. What can I say except that it's really good stuff! As a devotee of Cadbury's choccy, I detest the Hersheys stuff over here, and these Endangered Species bars were highly "lur-licious" to my taste! The Gorilla bar with Pecan Praline was especially good.

The Endangered Species Chocolate Company donates 10% of the profits to protecting endangered animals around the globe, and each bar's wrapper is printed with information on the animals along with conservation tips. Good stuff!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

PHOTO GALLERY - Gorilla and Komodo Dragon Skeletons

We paid a family visit to Philadelphia's Academy of Natural Sciences recently. Our son very much enjoyed the dinosaurs exhibit.

They also have a very interesting Bones exhibit which features skeletons of a Gorilla and a Komodo Dragon. Click on the image to open up the Google Picasa Web Album.

KOMODO DRAGONS - San Diego Event

Andy Phillips, deputy director of conservation research for the San Diego Zoological Society will be sharing photographs and stories of his time in Komodo National Park at a special event on September 2nd - - Researcher to share Komodo dragon tales.
Earlier this month, Phillips of San Marcos traveled to Komodo National Park, a nature conservancy in the center of the Indonesian archipelago. He will share photographs and stories from his trip during “A Taste of CRES,” a new educational program geared toward adults, at the San Diego Wild Animal Park's Arnold and Mabel Beckman Center for Conservation Research.

The event, from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Sept. 2, will include a tour of the facility, a wine-and-cheese-tasting reception.
There's an interesting paragraph, further down the article which says...
More than 800 of the lizards in the park are equipped with identification chips or Global Positioning System collars so they can be monitored at each stage of their lives, Phillips said. Naturally, for a lizard to be studied or implanted with a tracking device, it must first be captured.

Monday, August 28, 2006

AUDIO - Carl Jones, Pink Pigeons and Lemurs - Radio 4 programme alert!

Tonight on BBC Radio 4, 9pm BST (4PM ET), "A Life With Lemurs" is introduced by Gabrielle Walker.
In the 1970s, Patricia Wright left her a life as Brooklyn housewife to begin a journey that led to her becoming one of the world's leading lemur experts.

Gabrielle Walker travels to Madagascar to meet Pat and the lemurs, finding out what it's like to discover an entire new species, and encountering Mother Blue - one of the oldest animals in the forest.
The programme is available to Listen Again here.

Back on 25th July, the programme was devoted to conservationist Carl Jones's work with the Pink Pigeons!. Click to Listen Again to "A Life With Pink Pigeons".
Conservationist Carl Jones left Wales 26 years ago for Mauritius - once home to the infamous Dodo - to try to stop the unique Mauritian pink pigeon sharing the Dodo's fate. Among the island's ebony forests and giant tortoises, he tells Grant Sonnex what his life's work has taught him, and why he is optimistic for the future of conservation worldwide.

GOOGLE EARTH - Jane Goodall Gombe Chimpanzee GeoBlog

Not exactly Last Chance To See related, but the Jane Goodall Gombe Chimpanzee GeoBlog for Google Earth is WELL worth a look.

Follow their Google Earth KML feed here, and check out the area flyovers, profiles of many of the chimps, along with video of some. All in all, a very impressive mashup indeed.

Google Earth Blog has more on this marvellous endeavour.

MOUNTAIN GORILLAS - Couple of Gorilla Trekker reports

Here's a couple more Mountain Gorilla trekkers who've posted their experiences online....

Roberta Leung at
Our first sighting of the family came even sooner than expected. Two male silverbacks approached us when we stopped to receive last-minute instructions from our guide. One stood about a metre ahead of me and even though we had been told to not return the gorilla's stare, I simply could not help myself.

I was overwhelmed by his magnificence and became very emotional as I watched him looking at me. I will always remember the intensity of his stare and the look on his face.
Jacinta Bowman at the Courier Mail...
No matter what scenarios my imagination conjured up that morning, nothing could have prepared me for the impact of being at close quarters with an adult male gorilla. Sitting quietly in a small clearing, he feasted on a sapling, stripping its branches of leaves and stuffing the wads of foliage into his mouth with a contented grunt. His jet-black leathery skin and thick coarse hair were a stark contrast to the gentle green of the forest. With a huge potbelly he looked more jungle buddha than beast.

I held my breath as his massive chest rose. He lifted his muscular arms, tilted his head back and opened his mouth wide to reveal a set of huge fangs.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

SATELLITE SUNDAY - Ulva Island : Sirocco the Kakapo Parrot (Google Maps & Google Earth)

Kakapo EncounterIn a new semi-regular feature, I'll post some more location maps for the endangered animals featured in Last Chance To See using the Google Maps API, links to the full Google Maps and a handy Google Earth shortcut.

On Monday September 4th, blogger Mosher will arrive on Ulva Island, a small island on the eastern side of Stewart Island, New Zealand for his Kakapo Encounter with Sirocco the Kakapo Parrot. Its costing him an arm and a leg, so I wish him the best of luck for a successful trip.

Here's the location of Ulva Island using the Google Maps API. The full Google Maps and versions links to this location are available below.
Click here to download the free Google Earth application if you don't have it installed already.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

GERALD DURRELL - Excess Baggage audio

The August 12th episode of BBC Radio 4's Excess Baggage travel show (presented by John McCarthy) was about Animal Conservation and discusses how animals are becoming some people's primary reason for travel because of their fascination with the natural world, conservation, and other environmental causes.

The particular episode of Excess Baggage features an interview with Lee Durrell, widow of renowned author and conservationist Gerald Durrell (The Aye-Aye and I). She discusses their work on Madagascar and Mauritius, which are augmented with archive audio clips of Gerald Durrell in action. The full show is available as streaming audio from the Excess Baggage site, along with a huge library of past shows.
Dr Lee Durrell, widow of the renowned animal conservationist Gerald Durrell, talks about her work and travels to ensure the continuation of her late husband's wildlife conservation projects; Nicole Yde-Poulsen, Expedition Coordinator at EarthWatch explains the link between the scientific research which forms the backbone of the institute and the experience of travel through their volunteer programme.

Guy Grieve, author of Call of the Wild - My Escape to Alaska recounts his adventures after surviving for a year in the Alaskan wilderness, armed with only the most basic equipment.
You'll find links to other relevant episodes of Excess Baggage from our audio category on the right-hand side-bar.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

MOUNTAIN GORILLAS - Koko: A Talking Gorilla

The DVD Times website has a mostly positive review of the DVD release of "Koko: A Talking Gorilla".

This 1978 16mm film is grainy in quality and follows the story of Koko, a mountain gorilla born in San Francisco Zoo in 1971. Koko was taken to Stanford University for an experiment in which Dr Penny Patterson taught Koko the basics of American Sign Language.

I vaguely recall seeing this film many many years ago. It'll be interesting to check it out again.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

NORTHERN WHITE RHINOS - Ugandan Rebel Army pledges to save the rhino

There are reports that The Earth Organization, a South African conservation group has made an agreement with the Ugandan Lords Resistance Army rebels in an effort to save the last "four" Northern White Rhinos in the wild - Source - SanePR.
Lawrence Anthony, founder of The Earth Organization, has been in negotiations with the LRA leadership for two days to secure the safety of the endangered species. The rebels who are currently occupying Garamba national park in north-eastern DR Congo have issued a formal statement pledging to protect the only estimated four Rhinos of their sub-species remaining in the world.
“These are the most highly endangered large mammals on earth and if we lose them they will be the largest mammal since the mammoth to go extinct,” said Anthony who led the negotiations at the LRA base camp outside of the Sudanese provincial capital of Juba.

“Desperate times call for desperate measures. The LRA, with many highly armed mobile combatants have already killed 12 game rangers and eight Guatemalan UN troops in the park and the future of these only remaining rhinos lies in their hands at the moment,” added Anthony.
With the recent difficult DR Congo elections, this is a welcome move in a troubled country.

Speaking of Woolly Mammoths.... Did you see the recent coverage on the oft-talked about plan to resurrect Woolly Mammoths using sperm taken from frozen carcasses discovered in the Siberian tundra? CNet has the story...
All ethical questions aside, it still probably won't be biologically possible to actually bring back the woolly mammoth in its original state. Its sperm might be viable, but that's unfortunately only half of what would be needed to bring forth a new member of the species. Consequently, scientists interested in mammoth revival speculate that the still-extant Asian elephant--believed to be genetically close enough to interbreed with the mammoth--could fill the female void.

Monday, August 21, 2006

KAKAPO PARROTS - Getting up close and personal with a Kiwi icon

Kakapo EncounterNew Zealand's Stuff with more coverage of the ongoing Kakapo Encounter.
Kakapo minder Deidre Vercoe said Sirocco's health and safety were paramount and regular checks would be done to ensure he does not become stressed or unwell during the visits.

Hand-reared, Sirocco is not used in the kakapo breeding programme, allowing him to be used for the visits. He was deemed not genetically valuable as his father had sired around 40 percent of the known age population and it was important to have diversity in the breeding.

"It's a shame ... but he's really amazing for this sort of advocacy and to raise awareness with people," Miss Vercoe said.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

MOUNTAIN GORILLAS - Denver Gorilla Run

Here's Denver's with news of the 3rd annual Denver Gorilla Run taking place on Saturday, October 28th.
The 3rd Annual Denver Gorilla Run is a charity event just in time for Halloween. This year the start and finish line will be held at the Wynkoop Brewing Company. Everyone who takes part wears a full gorilla costume - from fluffy head to furry toe - and helps raise funds for the Mountain Gorilla Conservation Fund
So, if you fancy dressing up like a Gorilla like Darth Tigger (see below), then sign-up at

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

MOUNTAIN GORILLAS - Darth Tigger's Great Gorilla Run

As previously reported, Jess "Darth Tigger" Bennett is taking part in the London Great Gorilla Run on 24th September 2006 and, as you can see, she has received her Gorilla suit and is in serious training!

She's still looking for sponsors but has passed the halfway point of her goal already! Way to go Jess. If you'd like to sponsor her, please visit her sponsorship page and help her raise money for these very special endangered animals.

Very best of luck from Another Chance To See.

DODOS - Dirk Gently Stage Show

The Road Theatre Company's production of "Dirk" will run September 29th to December 2nd 2006. There will be previews on September 26, 27 & 28th. (PRESS RELEASE - The Road Theatre Company, 5108 Lankershim Boulevard, North Hollywood, CA 91601)
The stage has had a long tradition of great detectives.

Dirk Gently does not belong to it.

A 200-year old Greek pot. An ordinary modern salt cellar lodged inside. This is impossible (or at least inexplicable)! From the mind of Douglas Adams, who brought you The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, comes DIRK; a ghost / horror / detective / time-travel / romantic comedy / epic that begins with a seemingly innocent conjuring trick and ends with the most devastating secret of humankind!

All this and a musical number!
The production is based on my favourite Douglas Adams novel - "Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency" and I do hope the marvellous Dodo scene will be included. I'd love to see pictures of the Dodo make-up or costume!

Here's the beginning of the scene in question...
A large cross bird was looking at Richard and Richard was looking at a large cross bird. Richard was looking at the bird as if it was the most extraordinary thing he had ever seen in his life, and the bird was looking at Richard as if defying him to find its beak even remotely funny.

Once it had satisfied itself that Richard did not intend to laugh, the bird regarded him instead with a sort of grim irritable tolerance and wondered if he was just going to stand there or actually do something useful and feed it. It padded a couple of steps back and a couple of steps to the side and then just a single step forward again, on great waddling yellow feet. It then looked at him again, impatiently, and squarked an impatient squark.

The bird then bent forward and scraped its great absurd red beak across the ground as if to give Richard the idea that this might be a good area to look for things to give it to eat.

"It eats the nuts of the calvaria tree," called out Reg to Richard.
Apparently, there was a suggestion that the Calvaria tree required its seeds to be digested by Dodos before they would germinate. However, it appears that this is not the case (Dodo page) and there are Calveria trees on Mauritius that sprouted AFTER the dodo's extinction. It would seem that the trees are not particularly rare.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

KOMODO DRAGONS - Feeding Faust Video

You'll probably need to be quick to get to the video, but ABC7 Chicago have a report and a video segment of feeding time at the Shedd Aquarium of Faust the Komodo Dragon.
Faust is the king of his new exhibit at the Shedd Aquarium-- but that doesn't mean he eats like a king. No gourmet meals for this 8' long and 140 pound monster-like lizard. His diet is frozen rats that have been thawed to a delectable tenderness.

"He's going to get four extra large rats. He gets fed once a week. Generally this is the amount we're giving. About a month and a half ago we did an exam on him and he had actually gained fifteen pounds. So we're cutting back ... we were giving him six," said James Clark, Faust's Keeper at Shedd Aquarium.
Hmmm, yummy... It's the "Four Rat "!

BLUE FOOTED BOOBIES - Booby sighted in Skagit County, Washington State

Twitchers have been flocking to Washington State to try and catch sight of a young Blue Footed Booby which has been seen in Skagit County. This endangered bird is so young that its feet are still actually white...
It was the first sighting in Washington state since 1935 for a species native to the west coast of Mexico and the Galapagos Islands.

"The photos are pretty conclusive," said Bill Tweit, fishery manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Full story at

Monday, August 14, 2006

KAKAPO PARROTS - Grape? Yes, Prime Minister...

Kakapo EncounterNew Zealand's STUFF has more coverage of the Kakapo Encounter event now running in New Zealand. Prime Minister Helen Clark visited Sirocco the Kakapo over the weekend and was allowed to feed him a grape, which he happily took without nibbling her as well. Sirocco is one of only 86 of these critically endangered birds left alive.
Clark said the story of the kakapo was one of the "great fights for survival".

"When you see a bird that is one of the 86 left in the species, it's a pretty emotional experience.

"It's fantastic to have the opportunity to see one in their natural environment," she said. "It was a really special experience to be able to see a kakapo ... it really makes you see how important the Kakapo Recovery Programme is."
Full story at New Zealand's

Don't miss the TVNZ video report we mentioned yesterday, where you can see Sirocco in action for yourself.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

MOUNTAIN GORILLAS - Me and a Gorilla Video

Paddy's personal encounter with the endangered Mountain Gorilla in Rwanda, entitled "Me and a Gorilla", has become a Featured Video at and has received over half a million page views. Wow!

KAKAPO PARROTS - Kakapo Encounter Video

Kakapo EncounterTVNZ has another report on the wave of interest from bird watchers around the world for the Kakapo Encounter event. Their report also includes a video with nice shots of Sirocco in his observation compound on Ulva Island.

Sirocco is one of only 86 Kakapos left in the world, and this a very rare opportunity for twitchers to see one of these endangered birds.

The event runs till October 23rd, 2006.
A joint venture between the Department of Conservation and the Ulva Island Trust allows the public a rare chance to view them.

"It's taken three years of work and negotiation. The paperwork has been incredible - this had to be approved obviously at the highest level," says Dil Belworthy of the trust.
Additionally, the New Zealand radio station Coast FM is running a Kakapo Trip Competition. I imagine its only open to New Zealand residents.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

KAKAPO PARROTS - Feral cats wreaking havoc on New Zealand birds

New Zealand's Gisborne Herald has a history of the feral cat problem in the country, along with Department of Conservation's recommendation to ease the problem. The introduction of opportunistic predators like this has been a disaster for the native birds, many of which had become flightless or ground dwelling.
Cats arrived in New Zealand along with European colonisation and since then have been responsible for the elimination of a range of native birds.

From the Stephens Island wren in the 1800s to the North Island saddleback, pied tit, tui and red-crowned parakeet on Cuvier Island off the Coromandel coast, and at least two species of seabirds and most forest birds on Mangere Island in the Chathams, feral cats have been responsible for the loss of some of New Zealand'’s unique birds.

Cats have also heavily predated the rare kakapo, black stilt, kiwi and stitchbird.
The DOC recommends trapping feral cats and also encourages domestic cat owners have their pets neutered to reduce the number of unwanted litters.

Friday, August 11, 2006

SOLIO - Portable Solar Charger for iPods, cellphones and more

I stumbled upon this interesting device recently. Introducing Solio - The Portable Hybrid Solar Charger.

This compact device from Better Energy Systems opens up like a fan and lets you take advantage of the free sunlight beating down from above, storing it inside its internal battery. Then you can begin using the Solio's stored power as a recharger for your iPod, MP3 player, cellphone, portable games machine, digital camera or other handheld device.

If your device's battery dies when you're out in the wilds, on the beach, or in the mountains, the Solio would be extremely useful to have around I'm sure, and the price is good I think.

From one of their FAQ pages...
Creating your Solio used energy. Help make this back—and more—by charging from the sun as much as possible. Become a producer of clean energy.

Solio is intended to achieve a net energy benefit over its lifetime. To reach this goal, energies needed for raw materials and production have been minimized.

Thursday, August 10, 2006


This month's Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund Field news has a report and an ADORABLE photograph of the latest addition to Beetsme's group. Female Mawingu has given birth to a beautiful . Check out the report and photo here.
Mawingu went into a bush and trackers thought that she was resting, until they saw her come back out, holding an infant in her hands! It is believed that the birth must have been directly witnessed by other gorillas, especially Kuryama, who was placed close to the bush during the process.
They are also promoting Gorilla Tours with the DFGFI for 2007 and have a new bunch of cute Gorilla E-Cards to send to friends and family.

GOOGLE TOOLBAR - Custom Button

For those of you still using Internet Explorer I have created a Custom Button for the latest version of your . As well as being able to search this site with a single click, it also hooks into our RSS feed which will give you a similar dropdown menu to Firefox's LiveBookmark feature. You can get the button here:
Add to Google Toolbar in IE

Firefox's Google Toolbar does not appear to support custom buttons just yet. For those IE users looking to upgrade to "a better browser", follow the Firefox download link at the bottom of the page.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

MOUNTAIN GORILLAS - Photo slideshow

Melanie Stetson Freeman, staff photographer for the Christian Science Monitor paid a visit to Rwanda and the endangered Mountain Gorillas recently. Here's her brief report and a very nice photo slideshow of her visit with the Gorillas.
The chief silverback, Agashya, charged us in a breathtaking bluff. Then he lay down and picked his feet, leaned back, and stared at the sky. Mountain gorillas are often seen brooding. Other than that, they eat a lot of bamboo. Or sleep.

At one point, we were surrounded by gorillas. Magic! We had to move back often because they sometimes came too close - especially the babies.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

MANATEES - New York sighting?

CNN is one of several outlets reporting on sightings of a Manatee in the Hudson River off Manhatten, New York. The animal has presumably swum up from the warmer waters near Florida.
The massive animal has been spotted in the Hudson River at least three times in the last week -- first off the Chelsea and Harlem sections of Manhattan, then to the north in Sleepy Hollow in Westchester County.
Last month, trackers saw the manatee as it swam north, first near Delaware, then Maryland, then New Jersey. By Saturday, it was seen in Manhattan.
Full story at CNN: Manatee cruises Hudson River

Monday, August 07, 2006

RODRIGUES FRUIT BATS - 100 left in the wild?

An article published by the North-West Evening Mail reports on improvements made at South Lakes Wild Animal Park, Dalton, UK which will get you up close and personal with Rodrigues Fruit Bats. The article implies that there are about 100 of these critically endangered animals left in the wild.

The park's aerial walkway has been extended to allow visitors to delve deep into the park's bat enclosure which houses 42 Rodrigues Fruit Bats including the young born last winter.
South Lakes Wild Animal Park is one of 33 zoos safeguarding the species for the future, should disaster strike in the wild.

Karen Brewer, education and marketing manager at the park, said: “They are placid, you won’t have to watch your necks!

“It’s fascinating watching them hold their food and eat.

“It’s amazing to think that our group are just under half of what were left in the wild.”
Full story here. Here's the link to the park's own website - South Lakes Wild Animal Park - if you would like to plan a visit.

I visited my local colony of Rodrigues Fruit Bats just last year, at the Philadelphia Zoo. Here's a couple of Rodrigues Fruitbat features on the site - Worldwide Projects and Wildlife Matters Feature.

And while we're on the subject of Mega Bats....

Darren Naish, a vertebrate palaeontologist at the University of Portsmouth, has a recent in-depth post about the controversial theory which suggests that Megabats like the Rodrigues Fruitbat are NOT close relatives of the microbats at all, but that they're actually flying primates!
Mention ‘flying primate’ and most zoologists will think you’re referring to the well known, controversial theory of John Pettigrew of the University of Queensland. Initially basing his theory on retinotectal organization (viz, the way in which data from the retina is processed in the brain), Pettigrew (1986) argued that megabats (the group that includes fruit bats) are not close relatives of microbats (the mostly small, mostly insectivorous bats that mostly use echolocation), but that they’re actually flying primates, of a sort (read on)....

Saturday, August 05, 2006


Probably one of the funniest sequences from Last Chance To See is Douglas Adams and Mark Carwardine's fruitless attempt to buy condoms in Shanghai's Friendship Store. It is a standard BBC emergency underwater recording technique to simply cover a regular microphone with a condom (or three). Douglas, Mark and their recording crew needed the "protection" as they wanted to record the cacophony beneath the surface of the river Yangtze and show just what the Baiji Dolphins were experiencing. It was this noise that caused the dolphins to stray blindly into boat propellers.

I recall Michael Palin also described the condom method of protecting a microphone during his "Full Circle" adventure as he rode an inflatable raft down the rapids of a New Zealand river.

So, what about the store today? Here's a page from The Friendship Store website...
The Friendship stores have now evolved into a six-story department store selling foreign and domestic goods that welcomes everyone. The store sells a wide range of traditional Chinese goods and handicrafts including watercolor paintings, cashmere clothing, porcelain, jade, rugs and traditional Chinese medicine. Still today, you can find many things in its extensive selection of goods you don't find elsewhere, from more traditional souvenirs to imported products from all over the world.

Moreover, Friendship store combines traditional Chinese merchandise to the most convenient day-to-day products, to add to the brief list mentioned above, we also put at our customers' disposal fashion clothes and jewelry, top quality tea, shoes, souvenirs, handbags, backpacks, wallets, electric appliances like walkmans, digital cameras and so on.
But what about condoms? Here's how Douglas Adams described their visit to the Shanghai Friendship Store in Last Chance To See...
We tried to explain to her what it was we wanted, but seemed to reach the limit of her vocabulary pretty quickly. I got out my notebook and drew a condom very carefully, including the little extra balloon on the end.

She frowned at it, but still didn't get the idea. She brought us a wooden spoon, a candle, a sort of paper knife, and surprisingly enough, a small porcelain model of the Eiffel Tower and then at last lapsed into a posture of defeat.

Some other girls from the stall gathered round to help, but they were also defeated by our picture. At last I plucked up the bravado to perform a delicate little mime and at last the penny dropped.

'Ah!' the first girl said, suddenly wreathed in smiles. 'Ah yes!'

They all beamed delightedly at us as they got the idea.

'You do understand?' I asked.

'Yes! Yes, I understand.'

'Do you have any?'

'No,' she said, 'Not have.'


'But, but, but...'


'I say you where you go, OK?'

'Thank you very much. Thank you.'

'You go 616 Nanjing Road. OK. Have there. You ask "rubber-over". OK?'
So for all your "rubber-over" needs, head on down to those helpful folks at Shanghai No. 1 Pharmacy Store, 616 Nanjing Road, Shanghai, China - Telephone: 6322 4567 (source).

Anyone dare ring them up and record the conversation...?

Friday, August 04, 2006


Please visit The Kakapo Recovery ProgrammeOf all the endangered animals that Douglas Adams and Mark Carwardine went to visit for Last Chance To See, the Kakapo Parrot is, without doubt, my absolute favourite. They have so much personality, look and behave so bizarrely, and their struggle for survival is so desperately tragic.

The Kiwi Conservation Club's list of Kakapo names was last updated in 2004. Since I recently identified why we have 86 and not 87 Kakapo Parrots, I thought that this would be an opportune time to bring the KCC's list of Kakapo Names up-to-date.

In 2001 there were 62 kakapo.
But over the 2001/2002 summer 24 kakapo chicks were born.
Then there were 86 kakapo!
Sadly in July 2004 three kakapo girls died.

and now...

In 2005 four chicks were born (3 female, 1 male),
but sadly adult male Gunner died...

leaving us still with 86 Kakapo, living on Maud Island, Codfish/Whenua Hou Island and Chalky/Te Kakahu Island.

FEMALES - Total 41
Aparima (Wendy's chick 2001/2002)
Aranga (Lisa's Chick 1999)
Boomer (1999 chick)
Ellie (Lisa's Chick 1999)
Esperance (Flossie's chick 2001/2002)
Hananui (Lisa's chick 2001/2002)
Hauturu (Lisa's Chick 1999)
Hine taumai (Wendy's chick 2001/2002)
Konini (Fuchsia's chick 2001/2002)
Kuia (Flossies chick 1998)
Kuihi (Jean's chick 2001/2002)
Marama (Margaret Maree's chick 2001/2002)
Mila (Margaret-Maree's chick 2001/2002)
Monoa (Margaret-Maree's chick 2001/2002)
Pearl (Alice's chick 2001/2002)
Pounamu (Sara's chick 2005)
Poura (Flossie's chick 2005)
Rakiura (Flossie's chick 2001/2002)
Tumeke (Wendy's chick 2001/2002)
Yasmin (Flossie's chick 2005)
Aroha (Sue's chick 2001/02 - died July 2004)
Aurora (Zephyr's chick 2001/02 - died July 2004)
Vollie (Ruth's chick 2001/2002 - died July 2004)
MALES - Total 45
Al (Alice's chick 2001/2002)
Ariki (Sara's chick 2001/2002)
Blake (Jean's chick 2001/2002)
Doc (Ruth's chick 2001/2002)
Gulliver (Flossie's Chick 1998)
Horton (Cyndy's chick 2001/2002)
Kumi (Margaret-Maree's chick 2005)
Manu (Alice's Chick 1997)
Morehu (1999 chick)
Palmer-san (Heather's chick 2001/2002)
Ralph (Met by Douglas Adams in LCTS)
Robbie (Heather's chick 2001/2002)
Sinbad (Flossie's Chick 1998)
Sirroco (Zephyr's chick 1997 hand raised) #
Takitimu (Sue's chick 2001/2002)
Te Kingi (Jean's chick 2001/2002)
Tiwai (Zephyr's chick 1997)
Trevor (1999 chick)
Gunner (died 2005)

# Don't forget, the Ulva Island Trust is hosting a rare opportunity to meet male Kakapo Sirocco with their Kakapo Encounter 2006. Book now to avoid disappointment!

Thanks to The Kiwi Conservation Club, the NZ DOC on Stewart Island and the National Kakapo Team.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

KAKAPO PARROTS - Overseas bookings surge for the Kakapo Encounter

Kakapo EncounterAccording to New Zealand's Stuff, overseas bookings for the upcoming Kakapo Encounter event have surged, due in part to publicity on Douglas Adams websites like this one.
From August 12 to October 23 the Ulva Island Trust is offering the rare opportunity to view one of the 86 remaining Kakapo. The flightless parrots are rarely seen in public because of efforts to increase breeding on predator-free, offshore islands.

As well as bookings for the trips from Japan and the United Kingdom, publicity on websites dedicated to author Douglas Adams, of Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy fame, had also been generated because of Mr Adams' 1990 book Last Chance To See. The book described his encounters with some of the most endangered species on earth.

Mr Adams spent time on Codfish Island-Whenua Hou, near Stewart Island, so he could include kakapo in the book.
Full story at We first covered the Kakapo Encounter event on July 17th.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

GORILLAS - Ebola Virus Research

Science Daily had a report last month on research into an virus outbreak among gorillas in the rain forest of the Republic of the Congo.
...researchers have found that in a few months the virus exhibited dramatic--but disproportionate--impacts on group-dwelling and solitary gorillas. The findings offer a unique glimpse into the factors affecting the threat the deadly virus poses to great apes.
In the new work, the researchers studied the spread of Ebola virus in a gorilla population of Odzala-Kokoua National Park, Republic of the Congo. Social units--defined as groups and solitary males--composing this population regularly visited a forest clearing where they were studied from 2001. In all, around 400 gorillas were identified from their individual morphological characteristics. Ebola virus affected this population in 2004.
The frightening consequences of the ebola virus getting into the much smaller population of Mountain Gorillas is only too easy to imagine. Full story at The Science Daily.