this summer is expected to be the biggest we’ve ever known.
That’s because we’re having the biggest rimu mast that’s ever been recorded.
Rimu mast (seed fruiting in large amounts) is the trigger for the female kākāpō on Codfish Island/Whenua Hou (about three kilometres north-west of Stewart Island/Rakiura), and on Anchor Island/Puke Nui (in Fiordland’s Dusky Sound) to come, answer the boys booming. Finally joining them to dance in their sounding bowls!
These Islands are home to New Zealand’s main populations of kākāpō. The third Island is Te Hauturu-o-Toi/Little Barrier Island, in the Hauraki Gulf.
There are 148 kākāpō and the population is slowly increasing. But the likeable parrots face lots of problems. The biggest is infertility.
Kākāpō and takahē expert Andrew Digby, a DOC scientist says that, “Only about half of the eggs hatch, and only about a third of the eggs that are laid turn into chicks that fledge.”
Last year, for example, there were 122 eggs laid but only 34 chicks fledged.
That makes mast years like next year of huge importance. Digby says, “It’s going to be a big one for us.”
One that will bring out the girls!
Thanks to the undaunting efforts of the Department of Conservation, in Cloak of Protection, Kākāpō remain in the FOREST realm, and have not joined the EXTINCT realm.