We recently lent our skills to helping kākāpō on their sanctuary islands!

Bird keeper Jasmine and veterinary nurse Breeze helped the Department of Conservation’s Kākāpō Recovery team with health checks and transmitter changes for the kākāpō on Te Hauturu-o-Toi (Little Barrier). 

Their task was to join a team of kākāpō rangers hiking through rugged terrain and dense bush (the island has few tracks) to track down five individual kākāpō. Each bird is located via telemetry (a radio signal) that locates each kākāpō via their small and light transmitter ‘backpacks’. The batteries on these backpacks eventually run down, so it’s important that they’re replaced every 12-18 months.

The team managed to find all five of the birds while they were on island, but one bird evaded them. Jasmine explains, “We trekked for six hours through dense bush to locate kākāpō Tiwai – who happens to be Sirocco’s brother (the famous ‘Spokesbird’). We got to be just 20 metres away from him when we realised he was hanging out on a pretty steep cliff face, and it wouldn’t have been safe for us to attempt to catch him up. This meant a five-hour return trip back to the DOC hut!”

Fortunately, the knowledgeable DOC rangers on the island would’ve been able to locate him and continue this work once our team returned home.  

We love supporting Kākāpō Recovery and Ngāti Manuhiri Settlement Trust each year to care for this taonga species. You also support this work every time you visit our Zoo!