Protecting the Worlds Rarest Parrot
Auckland Zoo - 10.09.2017
“This is kinda why I got into zoo work in the first place”.
In winter 2017, I set out on a journey with James Chatterton, the vet manager at Auckland Zoo. Our destination was Whenua Hou, a closed nature reserve site off the western side of Rakiura, and James’ mission was to work with the Dept. of Conservation to provide specialist health screening to the extremely rare Kākāpō (night parrot).
While the species used to be found across New Zealand, there are now fewer than 200 Kākāpō remaining in the wild. Because their numbers are so few, they each have individual names, and their genealogy is carefully tracked across the three offshore sites where they are managed.
Getting access to one of these sites is a rare privilege. There is a rigorous biosecurity screening process, and the public are not allowed to land on any of the islands. The work of filming this unique species involved hiking for most of the winter mornings to the top of Whenua Hou, using telemetry to target a particular individual, and then crashing through the bush in its general direction until we find it.
Filming this project has been a unique experience, and I’m grateful to Auckland Zoo for allowing me to create this short series.