8 Apr 2011

Ecologist questions if kakapo worth saving

9:28 pm on 8 April 2011

An Australian ecologist is questioning whether one of New Zealand's most endangered birds, the kakapo, is worth saving.

Corey Bradshaw from the University of Adelaide has helped to produce an index that measures the chances of rare species surviving.

Professor Bradshaw says with just 131 kakapo left mostly on Codfish Island near Stewart Island, there is a good argument for focusing time and money on species that do not have a heightened chance of becoming extinct.

"I've been to Codfish Island, I've seen kakapo (they're) amazing birds. It would be a travesty in the highest proportions to see them go away.

"But, at the same time, I don't want to see thousands of other species go away just because we spend all our money on kakapo."

Professor Bradshaw says he knows he will upset some people, but his point is about investing more wisely in the conservation dollar.

The Department of Conservation spends $1 million, including some sponsorship money, on the native nocturnal parrot every year.