Kākāpō health concerns continue

Alison Ballance - Senior Producer

The number of cases of aspergillosis in the kākāpō population continues to rise. The fungal disease has already caused the deaths of two adult females and three chicks, and it has now been confirmed in a further two adult females and six chicks.

Twenty two kākāpō are already in veterinary hospitals for testing and treatment of aspergillosis as well as other medical conditions, and they are about to be joined by a further eight birds from Whenua Hou / Codfish Island.

The disease continues to be confined to Whenua Hou. Four chicks from Anchor Island are in treatment but do not have aspergillosis.

The adult kākāpō population has dropped to 142 birds, following the death of 10-year-old Huhana, while the founder male Merty has been declared dead after not being seen for five years. There are 73 living chicks.

The adult females Hoki and Huhana have already died from aspergillosis, while Weheruatanga-O-Te-Po and Margaret-Maree have been confirmed with the disease. A number of chicks, including Nora-1-A and Pura-1-B, have also been confirmed with the fungal infection.

Four chicks from Anchor Island that were sent to Massey University’s Wildbase Hospital with suspected aspergillosis following unexplained weight loss have been CT scanned and are negative for the disease.

Kākāpō health concerns continue
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