Critically endangered kākāpō population reaches 200, highest number in 70 years

New Zealand's critically endangered kākāpō population has cracked 200, the largest number in the last 70 years.

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But there have been some dark moments this year as kākāpō succumbed to the aspergillosis outbreak, DOC’s Andrew Digby told Breakfast. Source: Breakfast

At the start of the year, the population was just 147. Conservationists were made all the more nervous when fungal disease aspergillosis swept through the flock, killing seven birds. 

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Seven kākāpo have died since April - the most recent was this week. Source: 1 NEWS

But the Department of Conservation has worked tirelessly to get kākāpō numbers booming this breeding season.

The effort included a drone which was used to transport bird semen for artificial insemination on Codfish Island.

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The critically endangered birds only bred every three-to-four years. Source: 1 NEWS

“We've had 214 eggs a huge number, but less than 100 are fertile. So, there is a lot of lost productivity," a DOC ranger told 1 NEWS at the time. "This is one of the ways we are trying to make sure we can get more kākāpō in the future."

The endangered birds only breed once every three to four years.