New Zealand: The endangered kakapo parrot is seeing an increase in its population

by Lucy Kramer

WELLINGTON (Reuters) – The population of the critically endangered New Zealand kakabu parrot rose 25 percent last year to 252 birds thanks to a good breeding season and successful artificial insemination, the Department of Environmental Protection said on Tuesday.

Kakapos, the world’s heaviest parrot, cannot fly to protect itself from predators and is nearly extinct. The problem was exacerbated by inbreeding and low fertility. Only 50% of the eggs are fertilized. Moreover, the breeding season occurs only every two or three years, when the local pine trees bear fruit.

The kakapo population is now at its highest level since the 1970s.

“There were only 86 kakapo when I started as a kakapo keeper in 2002. That number was scary. To have a breeding season of 55 chicks is a very positive step.” kakapo preservation program.

The programme, established in 1995, is a collaboration between the New Zealand Department of Conservation and the Ngai Tahoe Maori tribe and uses volunteers to help monitor the nest.

Much of this season’s success is due to the amount of fruit on the pine trees and artificial pollination that produced eight chicks compared to just five in the decade before 2019, Deidre Vercoe said in an email.

Deidre Virceau noted that “the use of artificial insemination allowed some males, who had not yet reproduced naturally, to remain represented in the future genetic heritage.”

IVF can also help increase the fertility of oocytes.

(Reporting by Lucy Cramer, French version by Dina Cartet, Editing by Kate Enteringer)

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