3 Jan 2011

Kakapo programme goes high-tech

5:15 pm on 3 January 2011

The Kakapo Recovery Programme is going high-tech this season, as the rising number of breeding females is likely to outgrow the number of conservation staff available to look after their nests.

Since 1995 the campaign to save the world's rarest parrot, found only in New Zealand, has lifted the kakapo population from 51 to 122.

The scientist with the recovery programme, Ron Moorhouse, says that in the past it has relied heavily on human nest minders.

But this season, on Fiordland's Anchor Island, electronic equipment will detect whether or not the mother is on the nest and send an email to Department of Conservation officers on the island's coast.

Dr Moorhouse says the team is hoping for at least as good a year as 2008, when 33 chicks hatched.

The fact that rimu trees on Anchor Island and Codfish Island, off Stewart Island, are already fruiting signals a bumper breeding season.