We feel so privileged to have been invited by the Kākāpō Recovery Team and Ngāi Tahu to give this precious kākāpō her new name – Toiora!

This juvenile kākāpō arrived at our Vet Hospital in early May last year during the aspergillosis crisis of 2019, where it was feared that this fungal disease could cause major damage to the entire kākāpō population and especially vulnerable were the tiny newly hatched chicks.

Incredibly, Esperance-2-B-19 has been treated and cared for at the Auckland Zoo Vet Hospital for almost her entire life (a total of 258 days so far – 85% of her life to date) which is why our team of vets, keepers and volunteers feel such a strong connection and affinity with her. When she arrived she had severe respiratory disease and her prognosis was extremely poor yet with the care of our vet team she is close to making an amazing comeback.

Kākāpō are given temporary names when they’re still inside their eggs and Esperance-2-B-19, had 4 parts to her chick identifier - first Esperance is for her biological mother, the number 2 designates that she was the second egg laid in the second clutch of eggs, which is where B comes from (first clutch was the A clutch)  and 19 means that she was born in the breeding season of 2019. It is only when chicks reach 150 days of age that they are counted towards the adult population and it’s some time after this they receive their own individual name.

As Esperance-2-B-19 has spent the majority of her young life being cared for at Auckland Zoo our wonderful friends and conservation partners Kākāpō Recovery and Ngāi Tahu iwi representative Tane Davis offered our vet hospital team the privilege of suggesting a name for her. Of course, we wanted to choose the right name that perfectly reflected her strong fighting spirit and larger-than-life personality so after much careful thought we decided on Toiora – te reo Māori for survivor. 

Our vet Lydia was on island when she hatched and says, “ever since Esperance-2-B-19 hatched at just over 19 grams, one of the smallest kākāpō ever to hatch, she has been a fighter. We said on island that the Esperance B clutch chicks were tiny but mighty and she has needed all that tenacity to battle through her long illness. There were several days we thought she wasn’t going to make it but she has a real survivors spirit and has so far managed to overcome every obstacle in her path. It has been incredible watching her grow from that tiny chick into a beautiful, cheeky full of personality juvenile who hopefully will soon return home to the forests of Whenua Hou.”

Our hope is that soon Toiora will be able to return to her island home, we will keep you posted on her progress!


Kākāpō Toiora loves these kawakawa berries!