The internet is abuzz with the long-shot success story of Lisa One, a kakapo parrot chick whose life was saved by New Zealand conservationists after her mother Lisa accidentally crushed her egg.
The pictures show just how delicate and unbelievable the conservationists’ task was – senior kakapo ranger Jo Ledington had to tape the shell of a partially crushed kakapo egg back together and allow the chick within to mature and hatch naturally. They succeeded by using, of all thing, masking tape.
Why was Lisa One’s successful birth so important? Because of how rare the kakapo is – only 125 of the birds exist. Their population was devastated when rats and cats were introduced to New Zealand by European settlers. Before these animals were introduced, the flightless kakapo’s only natural predator was the eagle.
Preserving the kakapo is important not just to maintain New Zealand’s biodiversity, but because they’re truly extraordinary birds. Not only are they the world’s heaviest parrot at 2-4kg, they are also possibly the longest-lived bird in the world, with a life expectancy of 95 years – and some have even lived to 120.