Rapid growth of Kaka Parrot population in Zealandia wildlife sanctuary

April 18th, 2016 | by LubosTomiska
Rapid growth of Kaka Parrot population in Zealandia wildlife sanctuary
Conservation projects


Fifteen years after launching of Kaka recovery program in Wellington’s Zealandia wildlife sanctuary, conservationists decided to stop monitoring nests of this endangered parrot. The reason is simple – the population grows really well. This project started in 2002 when six Kaka Parrots ( Nestor meridionalis ) were released here. Today, there are about 750 individuals living in this area and birds expand also to city parks and gardens of Wellington.

For volunteers who have spent thousands of hours on this project  announcement of termination may be sad news. They all have enjoyed regular nest inspections where they could observe chick development and see how the population is doing well.

„Having to say goodbye to all that is tough, but on the other hand it’s the goal of any restoration project … you only want to be monitoring to that point where you can go, They’re doing it themselves, they don’t need our assistance any more“, said lead ranger Matu Booth for Stuff.co.nz.

Conservationists were also hanging artificial nestboxes. However, in the last two seasons they noticed that birds started using natural tree cavities. Volunteers also helped to injured birds and checked genetic variation throughout the population.



First Kaka Parrot nesting in 2012

Kaka ( Nestor meridionalis ) is not the only parrot with growing population in Zealandia. Apart from that, another New Zealand endemic species kakariki is doing really well here and therefore conservationists made the same decision as in case of the Kaka – they will stop monitor their artificial nests.

Kaka inhabits old deciduous forests where it uses logs of dead trees for nesting. Female incubates clutch alone. Cavities are often being attacked by predators like possums or rats. Therefore government decided to set poisoned baits to forests. Conservationists also developed special design of artificial nesting cavity which prevents predators getting inside. However, high mortality of this species still occurs in the wild. There are about 10 000 individuals left on New Zeland islands and that’s why the Kaka is classified as endangered in IUCN Red List.



(c) Mark Whatmough. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.


The first nesting of Kaka parrot after reintroduction was recorded in 2012. At time the pair chose a tree right in the city center. In captivity, this species is very rare. Only one ZOO keeps them in Europe.


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Title photo: (c) PhillipC. Derivative works of this file: Kaka (Nestor meridionalis)- Wellington -NZ-8-2c.jpg. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.


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