Last week, eight kakapo were moved to a new home – Little Barrier Island, near Auckland.
Since the start of the kakapo recovery programme in the late 1980s, the number of kakapo has more than doubled.
This population growth has put great strain on the kakapo's two breeding sites – Anchor and Codfish islands in Southland.
“These two islands were holding around 126 kakapo, so we started looking for new breeding sites,” says Southland programme manager, Deidre Vercoe
“Little Barrier seemed the obvious choice because it is NZ’s only offshore island that can’t be reached by pests.”
A group of kakapo once lived on Little Barrier island between 1982- 1999, however they were moved during a rat eradication programme.
Unlike the kakapo on Codfish and Anchor islands, the Little Barrier kakapo will not be mollycoddled. They will not receive extra food, or heated nest pads for their chicks.
The Department of Conservation (DOC) hopes that the kakapo will be able to raise their chicks my themselves on this pest-free island.
“We will keep an eye on them using a computer tracking system that will tell us when they are nesting, when they are mating and even who they’re mating with..."
“Of course, if we find a nest we will monitor it more closely, and we’ll take the matter into our own hands if the chick looks sick, or unhealthy.”