Supplementary feeding

To make sure kākāpō are healthy enough to breed and raise their chicks, they are given extra food as a boost to their natural diet.

Known as supplementary feeding, a specially formulated diet is provided to the birds during spring and summer most years.

During that time, staff and volunteers have to walk around the kākāpō islands every three days, topping up specially-designed feeding stations with the food, and monitoring how much each bird is eating.

It is a big job that requires long hours of walking, sometimes in very demanding conditions and long steep terrain. The backpacks can weigh up to 20kg at the start of the day when they’re loaded up with the special pellets – it’s not a job for the faint-hearted!

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