I have just spent a very enjoyable afternoon engrossed in Scott Mouat's new documentary film "The Unnatural History of the Kakapo", which will be available for purchase through the Elwin Productions website in February 2010. Thanks again to Scott for sending me an advance copy. I really appreciate it, and it was a real privilege for me to see the film so early.
Here is the trailer for the film, followed by a short review from me...
Four years in the making, the film covers the history of the Kakapo from before humans arrived in New Zealand through to the present day. It then details the conservation efforts that have brought the bird back from near extinction to the 124 birds we have today.
The conservation story begins with Richard Treacy Henry's ultimately doomed attempt to transplant Kakapo to Resolution Island in the late 1800's to keep them safe from stoats and weasels. The story then continues with Don Merton's rescue program of the early 1970's which led to the Kakapo being installed on Codfish Island. Don features in the film as he and a small team return to Fiordland to see if there is any chance any lone Kakapos are still out there.
Finally, the story moves to the present day, with Dr. Ron Moorhouse and the rest of the Kakapo Recovery Programme team, learning how to gently extract sperm from males and artificially inseminate the females in order to coax the genetic diversity of the population in the right direction - a project we now know to have been a success - see Kakapo Artificial Insemination a 2009 Success .
Sometimes heartwarming, sometimes deeply tragic, Scott's film is a wonderful record of the dedication shown by a team of passionate conservationists, who are all doing their bit to save the world's favourite fat, green, flightless parrot.
I heartily recommend you buy a copy as soon as it becomes available, with 25% of all profits going to the Kakapo Recovery Programme.
You can learn more, and become a fan of the project at their Facebook Page : The Unnatural History of the Kakapo.