Contributing Monkie Sarah Backhouse
Published on March 25, 2008
The last time I wrote about an endangered New Zealand bird, it was Rachel Hunter’s portrayal of Ginger on “The Real Gilligan’s Island” (the danger came courtesy of her competition, “the other Ginger” — Baywatch’s Nicole Eggert). Yeeeesss.
Let’s start again, shall we…?
Good news for New Zealand’s most endangered bird, the kakapo. This year’s breeding season is going swimmingly with two fertile eggs being laid on Codfish Island and “two female birds, previously thought to be too young, also laying eggs”. These are the first eggs in three years and, according to Conservation Minister Steve Chadwick, it’s a welcome surprise that two six-year-old birds produced eggs when it was previously believed that the minimum breeding age was nine. (Isn’t it funny that in the bird community this is seen as good news, whereas in human society, it would be creepy? Right, Jamie Lynn?)
“This discovery is a great surprise for the Department of Conservation’s (DOC) Kakapo Recovery Team, and although the eggs may not be fertile, it’s big news that these birds could lay eggs at all,” says Chadwick. “The Labour-led government is committed to the recovery of our endangered native species, and kakapo are a top priority with only 86 birds remaining in two protected offshore islands.”
The team will do everything possible to ensure that the chicks get the best chance of survival. Volunteers will keep nightly vigil at their nests — too bad if the birds want privacy – to make sure the female incubates the eggs properly, and even step in with heat pads if necessary.
While these measures may seem a little extreme, I guess it’s New Zealand’s way of ensuring that the kakapo doesn’t go the way of its other indigenous birds like the (now extinct) giant moa or the (largely irrelevant) former supermodel.