A screeching, braying sound somewhere between a rusty train breaking and a frightened donkey screaming pierces the dark night. This sound belongs to a rotund, green parrot, the kakapo. Kakapos are as rare as they are unique, with fewer than 160 individuals remaining of this flightless bird.
Although the kakapo is one of the oldest remaining species of birds, they have more or less evolved to fail in present-day New Zealand. The pleasantly musty smell of the kakapo wafts through the forest, attracting predators like dogs, ferrets, cats and rats. Kakapos have evolved strong running legs to make up for their lack of flight, but instead of jogging away from a threat they simply freeze. In addition to being easy prey, the females only lay one or two eggs every few years and often leaves the nest unattended to go find snacks.
Because kakapo haven’t been able to appropriately take care of themselves, dedicated group of people, the Kakapo Recovery Group, have worked to protect and nurture these birds. This group is deeply invested in the survival of that peculiar, chubby, green parrot. They have even named each remaining individual, with monikers such as Gumboots, Merv, Whiskas, Flossie, and Boomer.
To help out with the feeding, care, and maintenance of the kakapo, symbolic adoptions are available for as little as $100 NZD. Sinbad and Gulliver are waiting for you.
[via Kakapo Recovery]