Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Kakapo to be artificially inseminated

With Summer rapidly approaching in the southern hemisphere, the news from is that the first artificial insemination of Kakapos is planned with hope of boosting the Kakapo numbers up from 86.
Kakapo recovery programme senior technical officer Daryl Eason said he turned to artificial insemination after the last breeding season two years ago was hampered by high levels of egg infertility. Only four kakapo chicks were born from 26 eggs laid on Whenua Hou (Codfish Island), near Stewart Island, and 60% of eggs laid were infertile.
Just as for humans, kakapo breeding with closely related mates risk genetic deformities, such as infertility. Eason said all but one kakapo, Fiordland kakapo Richard Henry, were from Stewart Island or were their offspring. Genes from Richard Henry were particularly precious in improving genetic diversity.

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