There are only 86 kakapo left in the world. They are an extremely endangered species and that's why the Department Of Conservation (DOC) set up a special Kakapo Recovery Programme for them in 1989.
New Zealand is the only place on the planet that has Kakapo and even in New Zealand there are only a few places that the kakapo live. We are very lucky to have kakapo still living here, but we wouldn't have them at all if it wasn't for DOC, they have really made a difference.
DOC had to research about the kakapo before they could start their mission, which is to save the kakapo from extinction. So far they have been doing very well. Luckily the number of kakapo is going up, not down and this year there are four new chicks.
Every year DOC does a check up of all of the birds. They take blood samples, they weigh the kakapo, they check their condition, they check for parasites and other disease, and if necessary they check their temperature.
DOC has had to rid whole islands of predators so the kakapo can live on them. The kakapo's enemies include stoats, rats and wild cats.
This year 24 kakapo eggs were laid, 11 of which were fertile. Six of those eggs hatched, two died and so now four more valuable kakapo have joined the world. Those four chicks are the chicks that came to Nelson.
The chicks we saw in Nelson are now back on Codfish Island (Whenua Hou). They took a trip on a plane and in a helicopter to get there.
All the 86 kakapo have names, from Alice to Zephyr. The chicks in Nelson were nicknamed Dit, Dot, Zoe, and Pukunui. DOC ran a competition to name the kakapo chicks. After checking out 2000 entries, four names were chosen: Pounamu, Yasmeen, Kumi and Pura.