New Zealand’s threatened night parrot, the kākāpō, has been the focus of a remarkable conservation effort that has seen the bird’s population rise from a perilous low of 51 aging birds to three times that number. Kākāpō are unique and unusual birds. Long-lived, flightless heavyweights, they only breed every two to four years, and survive on just a small number of predator-free island sanctuaries.
A dedicated team of rangers and scientists know every kākāpō by name, and people from around the world follow this pioneering conservation programme on social media. Every new chick is celebrated, every death is mourned, and the antics of the most famous kākāpō of all, Sirocco, make headlines.
Natural history writer and broadcaster Alison Ballance has been involved with kākāpō since the mid-1990s, and has a unique insight into the birds and their human minders. In this fully updated edition of Kākāpō, she follows the fall and rise of one of the world’s most unusual birds, from the brink of extinction through a roller-coaster ride of hope and loss, to today, when the species has a bright future ahead. These are exciting times for kākāpō and after 30 years of intensive management the Department of Conservation’s Kākāpō Recovery team hope they are about to do themselves out of a job.