Fungal disease affects endangered kakapos

Fungal disease affects endangered kakapos

After a promising breeding season, the endangered kakapo is now in danger again. Already seven of the new zealand parrots have fallen victim to the fungal disease aspergillosis in the last few months, the zoo in auckland announced.

In the animal hospital of the zoo a 100 day old chick had died before. "To date, 16 birds have been diagnosed with aspergillosis. So it’s very unlikely that this kuken will be the last one we lose," the conservation department’s (DOC) kakapo conservation program shared on facebook. A total of 35 kakapos are currently being cared for and treated in three new zealand animal hospitals.

At the moment 142 birds live on codfish island (whenua hou) and anchor island (puke nui) off the coast of new zealand’s south island.

The parrots owe their survival to the efforts of more than 100 scientists. These helped the kakapo to a record breeding season this year: 50 females laid 249 eggs, from which 77 live chicks hatched. Five of them have already died of aspergillosis, plus two adult birds. The respiratory disease is "widespread, difficult to diagnose and even more difficult to treat," the auckland zoo announced on its facebook page.

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