Then and Now

The History of the kākāpō – a story of drama, despair and hope

A ground-dwelling parrot that lived on the isolated landmass of New Zealand for thousands of years, the kākāpō evolved into one of the world’s most remarkable birds.

But with human colonisation, and the introduction of predators such as stoats, cats, rats and dogs, the species plummeted towards extinction.

By 1995, there were only 51 known kākāpō surviving, on a handful of small island sanctuaries.

Today, with a world population of less than 160 and a comprehensive Kākāpō Recovery Programme underway, the kākāpō is on its first tentative steps to recovery.

In this section, we outline the history of this fascinating bird, and the work that is underway to save it from extinction.

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