Kakapo Update

56 Kakapos haben überlebt - 20 Weibchen und 36 Männchen. Abgesehen davon, dass 6 Küken auf den Inseln ausgeschlüpft sind, wurden alle Kakapos auf küstennahe Inseln "umgesiedelt", um sie vor räuberischen Säugetieren zu schützen. Es ist keine weitere natürliche Bevölkerung bekannt.

Nach einem Intervall von 5 Jahren pflanzten sich dieses Jahr die Kakapos auf Codfish Island fort. Nach einem erfolglosen Fortpflanzungsversuch war diesmal die Reproduktion erfolgreich. Ein Grund dafür war, dass zusätzliches Futter bereitgestellt, die Nester vor Ratten geschützt und jedes Nest intensiv beobachtet wurde. 3 Küken sind "erwachsen" geworden - die größte Anzahl seit 1981. Das führt zusammen mit der Tatsache, dass in 4 Jahren kein Alt-Tier gestorben ist, dazu, dass die Bevölkerung seit dem Beginn des Projektes gestiegen ist. Während des Winters von 1997 zogen 5 Vögel zwischen den Inseln um, und ein "neues" Weibchen wurde gefunden.

Little Barrier Island: 12 Vögel (9 männlich und 3 weiblich) sind auf Litte Barrier Island (LBI). Mit der Ausnahme, dass 2 Männchen 1991 auf der Insel gewachsen sind, haben sich alle Kakapos ausgebreitet seitdem sie 1982 von Stewart Island gebracht worden sind. 2 der Weibchen und 4 der Männchen werden zusaätzlich gefüttert. Der Zusatzfutter-Verbrauch sinkt mit dem Anfang des Sommers. Wie auch in vorherigen Jahren war der Versuch, das verbleibende Weibchen ("Jean") zur Aufnahme von Zuastzfutter zu bewegen, erfolglos.

Einige Kuhlen(=Werbe)-Aktivitäten wurden in den letzten Wochen beobachtet, und 6 Kuhlensysteme sind derzeit aktiv, aber das balzen hat noch nicht begonnnen. Eine Vermehrung gab es zuletzt 1995 auf LBI (2 unfruchtbare Küken).

Maud Island: 7 Vögel (4 männlich und 3 weiblich) leben zur Zeit auf Maud Island. Alle werden zusätzlich gefüttert. Wie auch auf LBI nimmt der Zusatzfutter-Verbrauch mit Beginn des Sommers ab.

Einige Kuhlen-Aktivitäten wurden seit Septemper gesichtet, und ein Männchen balzte seit dem 19. November. Bis zu diesem Zeitpunkt gab es keine Fortpflanzung auf Maud.

Whenua Hou/Codfish Island: 31 Vögel (17 Männchen - ink. 3 "Jugendliche" aus der 1997er Brutsaison - und 14 Weibchen) sind auf Codfish Island.

Die 3 "Jugendlichen" wuchsen diese Saison sehr gut auf. "Manu" und "Tiwai", nun 8 Monate alt, wiegen genau 2,4kg und 2,2 kg schwer. Sie sind somit ein Kilogramm schwerer als ihre Mütter. Beide sind noch in ihrem Heimat-Revier und leben bei ihren Müttern. Der Hand-aufgezogene Junge "Sirocco" hat ein Gewicht con 1,7-1,8kg erreicht. Der Zustand seiner Atmung hat ein Volumen eines dünnen ????.

Mit der Ausnahme von einem erwachsenen Mänchen ("Ken"), der sich von einer Verletzung erholt, sind alle Kakapos auf der Insel Codfish wohl auf. Elf von den 14 Weibchen und 9 der 17 Männchen werden zusätzlich gefüttert.

Sechs Kuhlen-Systeme zeigen Zeichen von Aktivität während der letzten wenigen Wochen, aber der Balzlaut der Kakapos wurde noch nicht gehört.

Holding island: Vier Männchen die unfruchtbar oder von niedriger Fruchtbarkeit zu sein scheinen, werden auf einer Insel, südlich der Stewart Insel gehalten.

Movements: Two female kakapo of unknown age ("Maggie" and "Bella") from Little Barrier Island were transferred to Codfish Island in June. Both had free-ranged on Little Barrier since 1982 and had received food supplementation since 1989/90. Bella is not known to have attempted to breed during this 15 year period. Maggie, without visiting the lek produced two infertile, single egg clutches in successive seasons immediately after the commencement of supplementary feeding. No abundant, masting plant that might serve as a natural stimulus to breeding appears to exist on Little Barrier. Thus, relocation to Codfish Island, where kakapo have twice bred in synchrony with the infrequent masting of a dominant species of tree (rimu) may well facilitate breeding by these two - if in fact they are still capable of doing so. Codfish offers a further advantage in that the lek is closer to most female home-ranges and is more accessible than that of Little Barrier.

For these reasons too the captive female "Hoki" from Maud Island was in July 1997 released to free-range on Codfish Island. Both Maggie and Hoki were held in pens at their release sites for ~2 weeks prior to release (ie. soft release). Once released they remained nearby and continued to feed from their allotted feeding stations. However, Bella was held on site for one week only before being released. She initially ranged widely and has ceased taking supplemental foods.

A previously unknown female was found in the south of Stewart Island in June and transferred to Codfish Island by members of an expedition organised and led by Grant Harper. The possibility of further individuals persisting in the vast scrub lands of southern Stewart Island cannot be discounted - making further searches there a priority.

Two Codfish Island males ("Boss" and "Ben"), believed to have mated with females that produced infertile clutches earlier this year and thus whose fertility is in question, were removed to a holding island in September.

Breeding: Nine of the ten female kakapo on Codfish Island are believed to have visited the lek during February 1997 and to have mated. Within eighteen days of mating six of these birds had nested. The others apparently did not nest. The six females laid a total of twelve eggs of which seven were fertile. All eggs were left with females (male kakapo play no part in incubation or chick-rearing). Five eggs hatched (one of which died immediately after hatching), and there were two early/mid-term dead embryos.

Two of the four surviving nestlings were left with their (supplementary-fed) mothers. The other two were removed during the nestling stage for veterinary care and hand-raising when ailments were detected. All four survived to fledging-age (~11 weeks) when one of the partially hand-raised chicks ("Gromette") died. The necropsy report by Massey University veterinarians concluded that the cause of death stemmed from prolonged use of antibiotics (in particular Batryl). Without such intervention however, death would have resulted anyway, for Gromette was severely stunted as a result of chilling in the egg/early nestling stages, as well as under-feeding during the first two weeks of life.

As occurred in the 1992 season, the rimu mast crop in 1997 failed - fruit did not ripen and aborted - and as in 1992 it was apparent that non-supplementary-fed females were stressed for food to such an extent they were unable to incubate effectively or to raise young. Non-supplementary fed females spent more than twice as much time off the nest foraging each night than supplementary-fed females. Thus, it was necessary to take Gromette from her (non-supplementary-fed) mother at 12 days since she was seriously underweight. She was however stunted and died at fledging age (~ 11 weeks).

At ~23 days "Sirocco" developed respiratory problems during a prolonged cold, wet spell and began to lose weight. He responded to treatment and was successfully hand-raised at Burwood Bush. Sirocco was returned to Codfish Island in early July and was released to free-range there in late November. All three young raised in 1997 were male - the two chicks that died were female!.

Unless the cue(s) which trigger breeding in kakapo can be identified and simulated it is unlikely that breeding will occur there again until the next rimu masting event. Masting normally occurs at up to five yearly intervals, however there are indications that rimu masting may occur again in 1998! Graeme Elliott and Ros Cole have recently assessed rimu fruit development on Codfish and have found it to be similar to that of this time last year.

Diet & feeding regime: Investigations into the natural diet of kakapo continue. Preliminary results from hormonal analysis indicate that some key foods have unexpectedly high levels of oestrogenic activity.

The year-round ad lib feeding regime which had been in place since 1993 was discontinued in 1997. It has been replaced by a regime intended to more closely simulate natural cycles of food availability through ad lib feeding during autumn and early winter; a reduction in the range and volume of foods fed during winter and early spring (so as to encourage foraging on natural foods as well as greater mobilisation of body fat reserves) and provision of a flush of food from late spring.

Following discussion with animal nutritionists from Massey University and Profile Foods (Auckland) it is proposed during the coming year to phase-out the existing range of supplementary-foods and replace them with a pelleted diet formulated specifically for kakapo. A pelleted diet will make it possible to manipulate nutrient, vitamin, mineral and hormonal intake, while further reducing organophosphate levels.

General: "Ken" the Codfish Island male that suffered a severe injury to his wing base in 1995, apparently as a result of his transmitter becoming snagged, is now making good progress. Since January 1997 he has been held in captivity on Codfish while undergoing veterinary treatment. Treatment has involved surgery in Invercargill on a number of occasions, regular dressing of his wound, restraining of one wing through bandaging and on-going medication. Ken's management has broken new ground: It has demonstrates that mature, wild-raised kakapo can adapt to captivity, and that it is possible for birds to survive repeated anaesthesia, ongoing medication and frequent handling. After ten months of perseverance and dedication by Codfish Island staff - and Ros Cole in particular - Ken's wound has now virtually healed. However, his latest blood results indicate that infection is still not under control.

Little Barrier and Codfish Island accommodation upgrades have now been completed.

At the request of Birds Australia (formerly Royal Australasian Ornithologist's Union) Don Merton recently compiled the kakapo passage for the latest volume of the Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic Birds. This is the most comprehensive and up-to-date account of kakapo biology.

Staff: Grant Harper (Kakapo Programme Officer, Codfish Island) resigned in August. His position has been filled by Mike Anderson, formerly of DOC, Stewart Island.

Nadine Parker joined the National Kakapo Team in October on a two year contract to research aspects of kakapo diet through analysis of cuticles from droppings.

Daryl Eason has been seconded for two months to the Echo parakeet recovery programme in Mauritius.

überlebende Kakapos: Dezember 1997

  Weibchen Männchen  
  Jungvögel Erwachsen Jungvögel Erwachsen Gesammt
Fiordland ausgestorben seit 1987
Insel Stewart Bevölkerung verlegt 1980-97
Insel Codfish 1 13 3 14 31
Insel Maud 0 3 0 4 7
Insel Little Barrier 0 3 0 9 12
Holding Island 0 0 0 4 4
Gesammt 1 19 3 31 54

Zealand Department Of Conservation - Te Papa AtawhaiDiese Aktualisierung wurde bereitgestellt durch:
Don Merton
National Kakapo Team.