Kakapo inoculations going well

Thursday, August 19 2004 @ 08:07 AM UTC

Contributed by: MikeSchindlinger

Dobbie the kakapo was alive and well, Department of Conservation kakapo recovery team leader Paul Jansen reported last night.

Dobbie was the first Chalky Island kakapo to be inoculated against the deadly bacteria erysipelas, which has killed three of his comrades.

With only 83 of the rare parrots now left worldwide, Dobby and 22 other kakapo were taken from their home on Codfish Island, near Stewart Island, earlier this month.

They were swapped with kakapo from Chalky Island in Fiordland National Park. An emergency clinic was set up when three female juveniles were found dead last weekend.

Dobbie was showing no signs or symptoms after being inoculated yesterday, Mr Jansen said.

Another male, Gumboots, vaccinated today, was also doing well. "Everything's going swimmingly."

Mr Jansen said he expected the female birds on the island would be vaccinated from Tuesday.

Extra staff would be dropped on to Chalky Island on Thursday, he said. They were needed to monitor the birds once they were removed from their pens and put back into the wild.

Extra food, usually given before breeding season, would also be fed to the birds to ensure they were at full-strength, he said.

Thirty-one kakapo were swapped between the two islands earlier this month. Twelve were swapped from Chalky Island to Codfish Island but no Codfish kakapo appear to have the bacteria.

Meanwhile, the Massey University veterinarian who diagnosed erysipelas has recovered after being infected with the same bug.

Dr Brett Gartrell had responded well to the antibiotics and his infected thumb was fully recovered, he said.