The world’s heaviest parrot, called a kakapo, lives in New Zealand, although their population numbers are dwindling. Researchers from the New Zeland Department of Conservation are using novel approaches to try and ensure that the population of 143 adults survive, and reproduce. All the adult birds have been fitted with a tracking device that records information like location, activity, and mating opportunities.
In addition to using technology to track these birds and their movements, the team also use drones to transport sperm between the three uninhabited islands the birds live on. This allows the researchers to artificially inseminate birds, to ensure that genetic diversity is maintained in this small population. They are having success with this new approach, with this year being a particularly successful breeding season, with 73 chicks hatching. It is hoped that these chicks will survive to adulthood, and in turn be fitted with their own tracking device.
The team hopes that this project is successful in increasing population numbers, and can be used as a basis for conservation efforts for other bird species.
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