Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Meet the Kakapo

The kakapo may be one of the most unique birds in the world, and with only 131 living individuals left, it is certainly the rarest.
Kakapos are flightless parrots native to New Zealand. Mature adults can weigh over 9lbs, making them the heaviest parrots in the world. They are also extremely long-lived, with an average life span of 90-120 years.
Kakapos were common to New Zealand prior to colonization. Like the kiwi, it is believed that the kakapo lost its ability to fly due to the isolation of its habitat and lack of any native predators. When settlers began to arrive in New Zealand they brought along nonnative animals such as cats, dogs, weasels and rats. Kakapos, slow-moving and unequipped with any way of escaping these animals became easy prey, and were nearly wiped out by the beginning of the twentieth century.
In recent decades, all remaining kakapos have been transferred from mainland New Zealand to predator-free outlying islands as part of an intense recovery plan. Nearly all of the remaining 131 birds are well-known and individually named by researchers and zoologists.

For more information on this amazing bird you can visit the Kakapo Recovery website.

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