It's Stephen Fry’s favourite bird... a clumsy, flightless parrot that often prefers sex with human legs to procreating with its own kind.
But despite being so badly hobbled by nature – much to the actor and all-round clever dick’s amusement – the kakapo is fighting back.
The slow-moving green bird, once so common in New Zealand you could shake a bush and six would fall out, was almost extinct.
But the latest count reveals how a decades long conservation effort has boosted numbers from a precarious 50 in 1990 to 126 this year.
Their fortunes improved once they were moved out of reach of pests and predators to two remote islands – with a third sanctuary added this year near Auckland.
‘The trend is up,’ said the programme’s chief scientist Ron Moorehouse. ‘We’re not out of the woods by any means but we’re going in the right direction.’
Saving the kakapo faced several hurdles – the slow-breeding bird was often hand-reared and sometimes tried to mate with their handlers – forcing rangers to wear rubber helmets dotted with dimples to try to collect kakapo sperm.
Stephen Fry described their antics as ‘one of the funniest things he had ever seen’ while filming his Last Chance To See show in 2009.
Please login to add to favorites
Already added to favorites
Added as Favorite