There are fears a disease outbreak affecting one of our most beloved endangered species is getting worse.
Another six kākāpō have been flown off Whenua Hou (Codfish Island) near Stewart Island.
They’ve been taken to Auckland Zoo for urgent CT scans and blood tests.
It’s believed they’re the latest birds to contract aspergillosis, a disease caused by a fungus which affects the respiratory system.
While the disease isn’t able to be passed from bird to bird, the Department of Conservation is scrambling to work out why so many are becoming ill.
Experts at Auckland Zoo, where the birds are being treated, say the disease is usually fatal.
It has already killed four chicks and an adult since April, with several other birds under close watch.
By Andrew Macfarlane