Meeting Pounamu: the noisest kakapo
Tue, 02 Feb 2010 6:30p.m.
By Melissa Davies
The kakapo is one of the biggest stars of the bird world for living on the brink of extinction, so it is used to the limelight.
This morning, 13-year-old Jade Cassidy had the very special opportunity to meet the kakapo she named Pounamu in a competition – quickly finding out Pounamu is a star who values her privacy.
They say you should never work with animals or children and, as it turned out, reporting on a five-year-old kakapo was asking for trouble.
Pounamu was well-behaved until she spotted the cameras – then onlookers witnessed a bird tantrum. She has already earned herself a reputation as one of the noisiest of the 124 kakapo left.
“It kinda freaked me out when she screamed,” Jade says of her encounter with her namesake.
Pounamu can be forgiven – a parasite has caused an irritation in her rear end, which was then examined on TV. It is a problem which could spread to other kakapo.
“There is probably going to be quite a lot of work going in to this, because it’s quite an unusual place for birds to have a problem,” says Veterinarian John Potter.
“We don’t know whether the organism is present in a lot of the kakapo.”
The Auckland Zoo is becoming a regular kakapo hospital – five kakapo have been treated there, and it has made a huge difference to their chance of survival.
However the survival of feisty Pounamu is of little concern, few would dare mess with her.
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