Great news, this. As of March 11th, there are over 100 Kakapo parrots in the wild. This is hugely important and utterly wonderful. Fourteen years ago there were around 50 of the daft little creatures – down from the hundred or so that were on Stewart Island when we first discovered them… and then accidentally came close to wiping them out by introducing the likes of rats to their home territory.
For those who don’t know, the Kakapo are flightless parrots. They originally inhabited one island off the south coast of New Zealand (although conservationists moved them temporarily in an effort to give them safety while their original home was cleared of imported predators) and were on the verge of extinction until work began to help boost their numbers.
They’re also one of the stars of – in my opinion – Douglas Adams and Mark Carwardine‘s fine book/radio series Last Chance To See. Much as I’m a HHG fan, this ranks as my favourite of Adams’ works, but it can be a bugger to find in bookshops. I’ve seen it stacked in sci-fi with his other titles, in the holiday books with Lonely Planet, under natural history, in the modern science section…
If you can find it, get a copy. Stephen Fry and Mark Carwardine are currently working on the sequel which will begin life – I believe – as a TV series on BBC shortly.
For some photos and the story of my trip to Stewart Island a couple of years ago, check out this post on the Travel Blog.