July 26, 2010 | by  |
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Animal of the Week: The Kākāpō

The kākāpō—New Zealand’s flightless, heaviest, and nocturnal parrot—is one of a kind. Well, more like 122 of a kind, as that’s the total number of birds left on the planet. Kākāpō are easy prey for animals such as stoats and cats, and despite a great deal of encouragement from the Department of Conservation and Forest & Bird (though that’s a turn-off, if there ever was one), they’ve been reproducing reluctantly. The bid to save the bird recently reached a head—quite literally—with Last Chance to See, a BBC documentary hosted by media dandy Stephen Fry and naturalist Mark Carwardine. During the pair’s visit to Codfish Island, a rather excitable kākāpō named Sirocco took it upon himself to attempt to mate with Carwardine’s head. “Look, he’s so happy!” exclaimed Fry with glee as Sirocco dug his claws into Carwardine’s scalp, pumping his wings lustily. “You are being shagged by a rare parrot!” As a YouTube user wittily commented, “No wonder why these parrots are rare. Reproduction: ur doin it wrong!” [sic] Certainly, the future of the species relies on full-grown males such as Sirocco approaching female kākāpō with as much gusto as he did Carwardine.

Email suggestions for an upcoming Animal of the Week to elle@salient.org.nz.

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About the Author ()

Elle started out at Salient reviewing music. In 2010, she wrote features and Animal of The Week, which an informal poll revealed to be 40% of Victoria students' favourite part of the magazine. Alongside Uther Dean, she was co-editor for 2011. In 2012, she is chief features writer.

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