Saving the Kakapos

An endangered parrot is making a critical comeback off the coasts of New Zealand.

The kakapo is unique in that it is the only flightless parrot, it’s the heaviest and it’s nocturnal.
Once abundant across most of the small country, it fell prey to hunting, land clearing, and foreign predators that came with European explorers centuries ago.

Conservationist Richard Henry sounded the alarm in the late 1800s, and made a vigorous effort to save the flightless birds, by ferrying several hundred across a dangerous channel to a predator-free island, but was thwarted when weasels learned how to cross the channel and wiped them out.

By the late 20th century, the species was thought to be extinct, until a small population was discovered on a remote island.

A breeding program was quickly instituted, and as of late 2021, there were 211 kakapos in existence.

In an effort to conserve all the native flora and fauna of their country, New Zealand has committed to removing all the introduced predators.

There are also plans to return the parrots to Resolution Island, where Richard Henry sought to shelter them a century ago.

Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, and with our help, the kakapo is making a slow and steady comeback to its native home.