3 Jan 2009

High hopes for bumper kakapo breeding season

11:10 am on 3 January 2009

The Kakapo Recovery Programme hopes this breeding season will produce 40 chicks, increasing the current population by almost 50%.

The world's biggest parrot is on the critically endangered list, with only 90 birds left anywhere.

In the early 1990s, the kakapo was facing extinction with just 51 birds recorded.

Conservation group Forest and Bird says there are now more adult females than at any time in the past 100 years, which signals a bumper breeding season in 2009.

Many males have begun booming to attract females and the mating season is expected to begin next week.

As many as 40 chicks are expected to hatch in late February, which Forest and Bird hopes will help to take the kakapo from critically endangered to endangered status by the end of 2010.

In December, Forest and Bird, Rio Tinto Alcan and the Department of Conservation re-signed a sponsorship deal which will provide $200,000 a year to the Kakapo Recovery Programme until the end of 2010.