I’m currently reading “No Turning Back: the Life and Death of Animal Species” by Richard Ellis. Needless to say, it’s a little depressing. But I have learned of many animals on the brink of oblivion who need our help.
This fluffy green guy is a kakapo (Strigops habroptilus), the world’s largest parrot. Kakapos are native to New Zealand, where they were once numerous. Thanks to habitat destruction and the introduction of non-native predators, kakapos now reside on just a handful of small islands.
It’s a parrot that looks like an owl, or a giant budgie. It cannot fly, although it has large wings. It walks and jumps and is an excellent climber. It is nocturnal and can be found feeding on the ground or 20m up a rimu tree. It “skraarks” loudly like other parrots but you might mistake other calls for a braying donkey, a grunting or squealing pig, a booming bittern; and it also produces a nasal metallic noise called “chinging”. A feature most people notice, is that the males in particular, have a distinctive musty odour.
Unlike most birds kakapos do not breed every season, but only when food is particularly plentiful. This has contributed to their decline. Today, conservationists make sure that the birds have plenty of food to encourage breeding. They are very long lived; many individuals have been studied for decades and are believed to be in their sixties.
Today the kakapo population is 90 birds.
The kakapo recently beat the iconic kiwi, being voting New Zealanders’ favorite bird.
Go make a donation – kakaporecovery.org.nz
Donate, mofos! $$$$$!