Facts About The Kakapo

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When it comes to unique birds, the Kakapo is king. It holds several world records:

NZ Kakapo

It's the heaviest parrot in the world

It's possibly the longest-lived bird species in the world; the low adult mortality rate suggests a mean life expectancy of 90 years

It's flightless

It's the only parrot that has a "lek" breeding system

Whenua Hou, or Codfish Island, is a large, bush covered island about 3km off the wild west coast of Stewart Island. It provides Kakapo with a 1400ha home that is very similar to their original habitat of Stewart Island, and is now the centre for Kakapo recovery in New Zealand

When Kakapo were originally moved to Whenua Hou, it was inhabited by rats, which can threaten Kakapo eggs and chicks. Since the 1980s all predators have been progressively removed, culminating in a huge rat eradication programme in 1998. The rat eradication means that Whenua Hou is now an ideal long-term home for Kakapo

This was dramatically illustrated by the phenomenal breeding event of 2002, when 24 chicks were added to the Kakapo population in a matter of months

Three Kakapo staff work on Whenua Hou, and have to put up with an isolated location and the wild weather of New Zealand's deep south. It has no roads and is reached by light plane or helicopter

The island is a specially-protected nature reserve, and no unauthorised landing is permitted