Wednesday, 13 April 2011


A bloodless scientist in Aussie has done are very interesting thing. He has developed an index that assesses the worth of saving threatened and endangered species purely on fact and logic.

As a result the big lazy parrot we call the Kakapo is deemed not worth saving. That may well be true. Comalco has chucked a million dollars at the recovery programme for about 20 years so thats $20 m for starters and then its safe to assume DOC has stumped up the same amount so thats about $40million so far and what have we to show for it? Another 70 birds. Thats about $750k each.

Now don't get me wrong - Kakapo are the embodiment of innocence as we have blogged before and anyone who gets up close and personal to one cannot help but be affected by them.

However we have to fess. The mere smell of them sent our saliva glands into overdrive. They awoke some ancient Maori predilection for Parrot hangi.

Thats the problem with Kakapo - they are our forests village idiots. They never adapted. They cant fly their way out of trouble and the desire to breed is predicated on a seed that only flourishes every now and then.

Even so, we get the argument and a tool designed to triage the species that will best benefit from intervention is very useful.

However it does not take into account our nations love of charismatic fauna. If its cute we are more inclined to save it. The yellow eyed penguin is probably worthy of more resource but its an ugly bloody thing.
But small birds like the Black Robin take our fancy.

So while logic should dictate - it wont. Cute will always win the bucks and our verdant parrot will get all the love and attention it probably doesn't deserve.


Writer Of The Purple Sage said...

I can't help but draw a parallel between the cost of saving a near-extinct bird...and the cost of saving a near-extinct language.
At $220-MILLION per annum to prop up a language that most maori can't speak, I suggest saving a bird has much more validity on the world stage.

Anonymous said...

A good case for commercially breeding them for the pot, same as Kiwi etc.

Private enterprise could do it cheaper faster and tastier as well as ensuring the survival of the species.

Surely some iwi group could come up with a business plan to make it happen cause lets be honest here, if a pakeha group came up with the plan, they would be hounded into the wilderness, eh.
I seem to recall someone proposing just this not so long ago, but it went nowhere.

Anonymous said...

Um, Rio Tinto (formerly Comalco) has given $3.75 million to date...but hey, why let the facts ruin your spin??