World's Rarest Parrot Born in New Zealand
Yesterday morning, a kakapo chick hatched on a small island in New Zealand. The newborn bird brings the world population of kakapo—a flightless parrot and one of the world's rarest birds—back to 125 following the death of an older male earlier this week.
Kakapo rangers discovered the chick on Anchor Island while monitoring its mother Tiwhiri’s nest camera. Tiwhiri, a 7-year-old first-time mother, is doing well, according to a statement from New Zealand's Department of Conservation.
Deidre Vercoe, the department's operations manager, believes more baby kakapos are likely on the way after a successful mating season during which 37 females found a partner.
"We're thrilled that the record level of breeding this season will enable us to continue our work to bring this very unique New Zealand species back from the brink of extinction,” she said.
The birth comes two days after Smoko, one of the conservation program's original male kakapos, was found dead on nearby Codfish Island. The Department of Conservation department speculates he died after a fight with another male, though the exact cause of death won't be known until the Auckland Zoo concludes its investigation.
But even with the death of Smoko, the future of the kakapo seems bright. Before the DOC's conservation efforts began in 1990, only 50 of the chubby (it's the world's heaviest parrot) birds remained; today, that number has nearly tripled, and will likely keep growing.
Below, for your enjoyment, is video of a grown male kakapo attempting to keep his species' numbers high by "shagging" a BBC camera man.
[h/t The Dodo]