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FEATURE


depends on the trees producing rimu fruit providing a good supply. No rimu fruit means no young Kakapo! The following report shows the progress being made with this project:- As predicted from rimu fruit counts, there was no breeding in 2010. All 33 of the chicks who fledged in 2009, including the 26 hand-reared chicks, are now free-living on Whenua Hou (Codfish Island) and Anchor Islands. Two of the original Stewart Island birds, Sass, a male, and Sarah, a female, died, reducing the population from 124 to 122. The population shrank again in January of this year (2011) when the veteran “Richard Henry”, the oldest kakapo in the world, was found dead. He was believed to be at least 80 years old. Discovered in Fiordland in 1975 he was transferred to the off-shore islands where he made a substantial contribution to the growth of the kakapo population there. He spent his last years wandering around Whenua Hou. Although there was no breeding in 2010, it has been


As predicted from rimu fruit counts, there was no breeding in 2010. All 33 of the chicks who fledged in 2009, including the 26 hand-reared chicks, are now free-living on Whenua Hou (Codfish Island) and Anchor Islands.


an eventful and busy year with 33 fledglings to monitor, the premature failure of 26 transmitters and the accidental dropping of a sling-load of rat poison from a helicopter onto Anchor Island.


Demographics


The population of 121 birds consists of 65 males and 56 females (78 adults and 43 juveniles under 6 years old). The female population has reduced by one to be four short of the population milestone of 60 identified in the recovery plan. Sarah is only the second Stewart Island female to have died on a predator- free, offshore island in 28 years, and the first adult female death in 19 years.


Distribution


The population is currently divided between Whenua Hou and Anchor Islands


Whenua Anchor Hou


Females 33 Males Total


41 74


Island 23 24 47


Total 56 65


121


On the basis of the fruit count data and numbers of females on each island up to 19 nests are expected on Whenua Hou and up to 7 on Anchor. This will be the first time that nesting on two islands at the same time


BIRD SCENE 11


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