Endangered Fiordland kakapo dies from heat stress

Young kakapo male Blake has died in the Fiordland National Park of heat stress. Photo: Twitter
Young kakapo male Blake has died in the Fiordland National Park of heat stress. Photo: Twitter

A rare native parrot has died from heat stress, a casualty of record-breaking dry weather in the South Island.

Young kakapo male Blake has died in the Fiordland National Park of heat stress.

Kakapo recovery scientist Dr Andrew Digby said the team charged with saving the endangered species had been left shocked and saddened by the death.

The death followed a change in transmitter, a device vital to keep tags on the struggling parrot population.

Before Blake's untimely death there were 154 kakapo in Fiordland.

Digby posted on twitter it was the first time in more than two decades and 6500 tagged birds that this had happened.

Digby said there had been very hot, dry weather in Fiordland and Blake was fat.

The team was now putting measures in place in prevent this happening again to other kakapo.

Transmitters would continue to be used but extra care would be taken to avoid heat stress and similar issues.

Digby said an immediate step to avoid a repeat of the tragedy was to wait for the temperature to cool before attempting to find and capture kakapo.

The West Coast has been unusually dry with Greymouth and Westport breaking historical records for consecutive days without rain.

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