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Another adult kakapo has died, this time after getting caught up in its transmitter harness. It was the second kakapo death in January.
Sandra, a female discovered on Stewart Island in 1992, was found dead on Anchor Island at the weekend, Kakapo Recovery programme manager Deidre Vercoe Scott said.
"It's gutting for the team to lose one of the birds this way."
Transmitters were fitted on every kakapo and were crucial for locating the birds, she said.
"Without transmitters, our mission to support and grow the kakapo population would be virtually impossible."
It was the first time a kakapo had died in such a manner.
"The harnesses are fitted in a way that the bird will wriggle out of them if they get hooked on something. We've been using them for the past 31 years without a death like this occurring." They were not sure what happened to Sandra but she might have become really twisted up, Ms Vercoe Scott said.
Sandra did not have a good breeding history, raising just one chick, Morehu, in 1999.
It was the second death in January and the cause of the first death, of Waynebo, who was found dead by kakapo rangers on January 2 on Codfish Island, was still unknown.
Her death was the fourth since September 2011.