The kākāpō is one of New Zealand’s most charismatic yet mysterious birds. It is also one of the world’s most threatened species and a New Zealand conservation success story.
An ancient, flightless, nocturnal, herbivorous giant parrot, the kākāpō was once numerous throughout the country but is now extinct in its natural range. At its low point, the population was reduced to as few as 40 known individuals, but thanks to the hard work and innovation of the Kākāpō Recovery Programme, New Zealand’s flagship threatened-species conservation programme, the kākāpō population now exceeds 120.
Despite this exciting turnaround, there has not been a significant book on the kākāpō since 1989. The story of this remarkable bird embraces science, conservation, ingenuity and personal dedication. Through an informative and entertaining mix of hard facts, history, and accounts of the daily and seasonal routines of kākāpō and their minders, Alison Ballance brings together these threads to describe the natural history of the bird and tell the inspiring story of the Kākāpō Recovery Programme. Illustrated throughout and with an appendix giving details of all known kākāpō, this book will appeal to anyone with an interest in the natural world of New Zealand.
Alison Ballance is a zoologist, award-winning wildlife film-maker, natural history writer and passionate storyteller. She worked as a documentary film-maker and writer from 1990 to 2008, and currently works for Radio New Zealand National in Wellington as co-producer and co-presenter of the weekly one-hour science and environment programme Our Changing World. She has produced more than 16 television documentaries, written 27 books, and recorded and presented about 140 radio stories. Alison has been involved with the kākāpō conservation programme since 1994. She produced a TV documentary on the subject, To Save the Kākāpō, in 1998, and has written two books that cover aspects of the kākāpō story: Hoki: The Story of a Kākāpō (1997), and Don Merton: The Man Who Saved the Black Robin (2007).