Image: Jake Osborne | DOC

Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication. 


Southlanders will have an opportunity to see some of the world’s rarest birds this weekend at a kākāpō chick viewing session.

Date:  11 April 2019

DOC’s Kākāpō Recovery Programme team invite members of the public to see some of this year’s record-breaking chicks at a hand-rearing facility in Invercargill before they are returned to their offshore island homes.

Kākāpō advocacy ranger Bronnie Jeynes says it’s a wonderful opportunity for the public to share in the success of this year’s huge kākāpō breeding season.

“Kākāpō are a taonga for all New Zealanders and we are so excited to share their success with the public this year.”

“2019 has been the biggest breeding season on record with an incredible 73 chicks alive to date. With an adult population of just 147, new chicks will be a huge boost to the critically endangered population.”

Kākāpō only breed every two-four years, when rimu trees produce fruit in what’s known as a mast year. The last mast year, in 2016, saw a record 34 birds added to the population. To potentially more than double that record was wonderful, Bronnie Jeynes says.

A temporary hand-rearing facility has been set up in the Invercargill CBD to help care for this season’s most vulnerable chicks, providing a rare opportunity for people to see a kākāpō before they are returned to their predator free island homes.

In previous years, public viewings were held over longer periods, however with the chicks and their mothers doing so well on the islands, the facility was not required for the same length of time this year.

“With all the rimu fruit available the chicks are really thriving on the islands this year. For the first time in recent memory we’ve been able to put three chicks in one nest! It’s a hugely exciting time,” Bronnie says.

During the viewing sessions, people will be able to see the chicks in an enclosure and learn more about New Zealand’s unique parrot and the Kākāpō Recovery Programme.

As the chicks’ health is top priority, spaces are limited and bookings will be taken for half hour time slots, in which groups of people will be moved through the facility, spending about 10 mins with the chicks. 

The viewings will be held from 13-15 April.

Tickets can be purchased from the Invercargill i-SITE and cost $10 for adults and a gold coin donation for school students. Under fives are free.

Background information

Notes for editors: the total kākāpō population numbers aren’t updated until the conclusion of the breeding season, once chicks have successfully fledged.


For media enquiries contact:

Email: media@doc.govt.nz

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