Kakapo chicks on show in the city

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Hatched .... 2019 has been the biggest breeding season on record. This is one of the chicks being raised at the Department of Conservation's hand-rearing facility in Invercargill. PHOTO: JAKE OSBORNE/DOC

OUTLANDERS will have a chance to see some of the world’s rarest birds this weekend at a kakapo chick viewing session.

The Department of Conservation’s (Doc) Kakapo Recovery Programme team is inviting the public to see some of this year’s chicks at Doc’s hand-rearing facility in Invercargill before they are returned to their offshore island homes.

Kakapo advocacy ranger Bronnie Jeynes said it was a “wonderful opportunity” for the public to share in the success of this year’s huge kakapo breeding season.

“2019 has been the biggest breeding season on record with an incredible 73 chicks alive to date. With an adult population of just 147, new chicks will be a huge boost to the critically endangered population.”

Kakapo only breed every two to four years, when rimu trees produce fruit in what was known as a mast year. The last mast year, in 2016, saw a record 34 birds added to the population.

During the viewing sessions, people will be able to see the chicks in an enclosure and learn more about New Zealand’s unique parrot and the Kakapo Recovery Programme.

As the chicks’ health was top priority, spaces were limited and bookings would be taken for half-hour slots, in which groups of people would be moved through the facility, spending about 10 minutes with the chicks.

Tickets could be bought from Invercargill i-SITE in Wachner Pl and cost $10 for adults and a gold coin donation for school students. Under fives were free.

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