A critically endangered species, seemingly doomed to extinction, is making a long-term recovery with a little help from antimicrobial technology.
New Zealand’s ground-dwelling parrot the kakapo (pronounced caw-caw-poe) has hatched in record numbers during an unusually long breeding season, bringing hope that the species, which was almost wiped out, can fully recover.
Kakapo are the world’s heaviest and only flightless species of parrot. The bird's many unusual characteristics made it a subject of great fascination to ornithologists in the late 19th century. Unfortunately the kakapo’s biology also made it highly vulnerable to predators.
Before human settlement the bird was the third most common bird on New Zealand. But when the Maori people landed about 700 years ago, the clearing of vegetation and the introduction of rats significantly reduced the population of the birds.
The situation was dramatically worsened by the arrival of Europeans who in the early 19th Century brought more predators including domestic cats, black rats and stoats.
The Kakapo Recovery Programme began in 1995 when the population had fallen to an all time low of just 51 individual birds, but thanks to the perseverance and ingenuity by conservation staff, volunteers and clever bird-breeding technology, the kakapo is now starting to make a comeback, albeit slowly.
Key to the recovery programme is Biomaster partner Brinsea Products Ltd's Maxi II EX incubator. It provides the ideal environmental controls for maximum hatch rates of small numbers of eggs. The high frequency turn facility makes these refined incubators ideal for parrot and other exotic eggs.
To reduce this risk, Brinsea has incorporated Biomaster antimicrobial technology into the plastic incubator cabinets. Biomaster inhibits the growth of bacteria 24/7 and helps provide the optimum environment for hatching.
Brinsea Marketing Manager Sally Kershaw says: “We were so excited to hear the news that the population of the amazing kakapo has reached 200 and is growing. There are probably more kakapo alive now than at any time for 70 years. We are very proud to play a small part in their recovery.”