The celebration of six new kakapo chicks was dampened by the death of kakapos Ben and Taonga.
Sad news for kakapo fans: Two more kakapos died in the past several weeks, dropping the world population down to 128. After a good start to the year with the addition of six new kakapo chicks, the loss of two birds, including a young female, is a stark reminder how few kakapos there are.
On May 5, the Kakapo Recovery posted on their Facebook page, "The kakapo population is less two. Sadly, as we enjoyed the thrill of helping six chicks into the world, we lost Ben (age unknown) and Taonga aged 3. The team is particularly saddened by Taonga's death, as she was a female. Hopefully, we'll know the cause soon.”
Taonga, a 3-year-old female kakapo,
died in April 2014, according to the
Ben was one of the birds found on Stewart Island, New Zealand in the 1977. At the time, researchers believed the entire population consisted of males, until they discovered a group of males and females living on the island. Ben’s age was unknown, but the Kakapo Recovery believed he died from kidney failure.
Taonga’s cause of death hasn’t been determined yet. Before she died, she was emaciated and in bad shape. Researchers hoped to save her by providing supplementary feeding, but the efforts failed, according to the Southland Times.