Introduction

The death of a male kakapo on Whenua Hou/Codfish Island has brought disappointment to the Kakapo Recovery team, as it faces a year without any breeding.

Date:  18 January 2012 Source:  Kakapo Recovery programme

The death of a male kakapo on Whenua Hou/Codfish Island has brought disappointment to the Kakapo Recovery team, as it faces a year without any breeding.

Waynebo was found dead by kakapo rangers on the 2nd of January after his transmitter went into mortality mode. The mortality function on his transmitter revealed he had been dead for 24 hours.

Waynebo was first discovered on Stewart Island in January 1989 and transferred to Whenua Hou/Codfish Island where he fathered several kakapo chicks. His exact age is unknown.

Kakapo Recovery programme manager Deidre Vercoe Scott said it was sad news for the recovery programme, which had seen the population reduce by three to 128, since September.

“An autopsy has been carried out at Auckland Zoo and at this stage, the only indication of the cause of death is that he had a wound on his chest. He had been completely healthy when routinely captured several weeks prior to his death.”

Tissue samples had been sent to Massey University. “We now have to wait for further results.” 

Ms Vercoe Scott said kakapo deaths were a reminder that, although Kakapo Recovery had achieved much during the past 21 years – increasing the total population from 49 to 131 last year – the kakapo was still a critically endangered species and vulnerable. 

“Unfortunately, due to a poor rimu mast, we predict that there will be no breeding on Whenua Hou/Codfish Island this year and only a low chance there will be any on Anchor Island. So the population count is likely to go only one way in 2012 – we hope it will remain as it is.

“The good news is more than half the kakapo population consists of young breeding age birds, so the recovery of kakapo is still in good shape.”

Close up of a young kakapo. Photo: Dianne Mason.
Kakapo recovery is still in good shape with more than half the kakapo population consisting of young breeding age birds

Conservation in partnership:

DOC’s kakapo recovery work is actively supported by a partnership involving Rio Tinto Alcan New Zealand Limited, New Zealand Aluminium Smelters Limited and Forest & Bird.

First signed 21 years ago, the agreement is DOC’s longest running conservation partnerships and has already injected more than $3.75 million towards breeding programmes, predator proof sanctuaries and innovative research for the flightless parrot.

Its long term kakapo recovery goal is to have 150 females at three separate sites, one of which is self-sustaining.

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Contact

Deidre Vercoe Scott
Kakapo Recovery programme manager
Ph: +64 27 2902 783 

See also:

Kakapo

Kakapo Recovery programme website

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