Hello! Do you remember the painting I showed you on my last kakapo video? Well here it is finished! I love how it turned out! I have it here at home! In the previous videos I talked about the matings, the eggs, the chicks growing… in this breeding season that turned out to be the best one EVER! They have actually increased their population by 50%. if you haven’t seen the previous videos, go and watch them! Ok, so everything was going great for the kakapo, they laid 252 eggs, 86 chicks hatched… Some of the chicks died but in general they were all doing ok since the rimu ripened this year and there were lots of rimu, which is the fruit that they need to breed. So everything was going well, until suddenly… a tragedy happened: a sickness that nobody expected! It all started when they realized that Hoki’s chicks were not gaining weight as they should… To give you some context: Hoki was a 27 year old female kakapo, that hatched in 1992. her father was Felix and her mother Zephir. She was the first hand-raised kakapo, together with her siblings because that year the rimu didn’t ripen. But the siblings didn’t make it. That year she was the only surviving chick. And her name means COME BACK. So she is not afraid of humans, On the contrary, when humans came to check her nest, she went out to defend her nest. She laid 2 eggs this year, both infertile, but since she is a good mum, she was given 3 chicks to raise them. Everything was going great until one day, the rangers noticed that the chicks were not gaining weight as they should. So they went and thought: it is normal; she weights just over one kilo and she is feeding 3 chicks with more than 2 kilo each! Let’s remove one, and she may care for just 2. It went better for a few days, but after that, the remaining 2 got stuck in their weight again. They took another one and she was left with just one. But after some days it happened the same. And that’s when they worried and started wondering what was going on. They did some analysis, saw that she had aspergillosis, they took her to the hospital… but it was too late, the sickness was in an advanced stage and they had to euthanise her. The aspergillus is a fungus present in the environment, it normally doesn’t affect them But when the birds are under stress or with low inmune system it affects and attacks them. Soon after, they found out that the chicks thad Hoki had in her nest had the same sickness so this rang the alarm, they started taking blood samples, and they realised the possible effect of this sickness All the efforts from this breeding season could go to hell if a disease like this kills many parrots. There are just 211 kakapos per today, so a disease like this could wipe out the whole population in no time. The problem of this disease is that it is very difficult to detect. Birds show no symptoms until it is too late. So they take a blood test, and if the white cell count is higher than normal, it is a sign that they might have the disease. So they take them to the hospital, they take a CT scan, and if they have granuloma (a ball in the lungs) (that’s where the fungus is…) they can confirm that they have the disease. They saw that it was only affecting to one of the islands: Codfish Island. while in Anchor Island there were not any aspergillosis cases. In the end… to avoid further complications, they took all the remaining birds in nests to the wildlife hospital in Dunedin. and they hand-reared them there. So by the way: all the revenue from this video will go to the Dunedin Wildlife Hospital, because they are one of the centres where the kakapo have been treated during this disease outbreak. and they were THIS happy there! So just like that, they went from a great season without problems to having 35 kakapos -adults and chicks- in different veterinary hospitals around New Zealand checking them, hand-feeding them, treating them for aspergillosis… So it was a chaos… The treatment against the aspergillosis is quite slow… they need to treat them with anti-inflammatories, antibiotics, antifungal, nebulizers… they are treated in a small room with aerosols, just like humans! And this treatment can take up to 6 months until they get better… They are weighted every day and they are taken a blood sample every week to check that everything is fine. In the middle of this crisis they asked for donations to cover the expenses of the aspergillosis research and I sent a donation -of course- That’s why I make these videos, to send money to the kakapo recovery In the end they made 60.000 € of which more than 60% was from abroad this shows the impact of the kakapo recovery outside their own country! There were also many volunteers that helped: vets, kakapo rangers, caretakers… In the end, about 24 kakapos had aspergillosis, 9 have died, of which 2 were adults: Hoki and Huhana, and the rest were young birds. The rest got better little by little, but there are still some under treatment. and it takes 4-6 months for them to recover. Other adult birds that have died recently were Arab who hurt himself in the eye on a fight with another male they took him for surgery but he died due to complications. He was clearly quite old already though Gumboots, who got stuck on a forked branch he was hanging and couldn’t free himself so he died… Felix, the first kakapo that I adopted was found dead. And also Merty, who hasn’t been seen for the last 5 years, so they removed him from the total number. They imagine that he died already. Anyway, despite all this, 70 chicks survived, which is a huge record, and 211 kakapos are still alive -per today-! And that’s all for today, I remind you: if you too want to help the kakapos, you can symbolically adopt one, like I did with Sinbad, Waikawa, and Felix and Lisa (and Marama) a few years ago… and you get the plushie, the adoption certificate, stickers and book-markers with the story of your kakapo. In the description box you can find all the links, so go there and adopt a kakapo! Thank you so much and see you soon!! Oops! so much dust! …their own countryzz Look! how cool!