Kakapo to be traced by drones

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New Zealand scientists have come up with a new way of keep track of the endangered Kakapo bird.

Special drones have been designed to fly near the birds and monitor their activity, helping scientists to keep an eye on their health and learn what they’re getting up to.

The kakapo can only be found in New Zealand, and there are only 211 of them left.

The new drones locate the birds, record time and position. This system is proving more accurate than other methods.

The New Zealand Kakapo population is so small that each one of them has been given a name, including Ruth, Hoki, Suzanne and Zephyr!

Hunting, the loss of their natural habitat, and a rare fungal infection mean kakapo numbers have declined in recent years. However, scientists hope that if they can learn more about them there are ways they could help.

All of the birds are tagged with radio monitors, but previously scientists would have to track them down on foot – a process that was very slow and time consuming.

The drones have only been used on a trial programme so far, but scientists say they can track and trace large numbers of kakapo at the same time – up to 40 animals on one flight!

Kakapo Facts

Kakapo’s are the world’s only flightless parrots.

They have been described as the ‘party parrot’.

It’s the world’s fattest parrot! They can weigh up to 4kg.

A fungal infection is affecting the population of the birds

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