The kakapo, a critically endangered, flightless parrot species that can weigh up to 8 or 9 pounds, has seen an unprecedented, sorely needed, bumper crop of babies, The Guardian reports.
Though today only 123 adult kakapo remain, according to the site, there are now 37 new chicks, giving a sizable jolt to the current adult population.
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Exclusive to New Zealand, the colorful birds, without the defense of flight, were easy victims to a succession of threats. From original Maori settlers some 700 years ago, to later Europeans, the weighty parrots - heaviest in the world - were nearly eaten to extinction. That is, when newly arrived predators to the island, such as weasels, weren't already eating them.
For a parrot, the kakapo is a bit of an odd duck. Not only is it a flightless parrot, it's the only flightless parrot. It's also a nocturnal herbivore.
They were nearly gone by the late 1980s, when a recovery program relocated the remaining birds to islands that had no natural predators to threaten them.
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Now, decades later, officials with the recovery program say this new baby boom is the most successful population explosion since the program began.
The wildlife officials say better technology – such as remote nest monitoring and smart transmitters – has helped them keep tabs on the birds without hindering them too much with hands-on contact.
"This is a turning point for us," kakapo operations manager Deidre Vercoe told the Guardian. "These kinds of technological advances are enabling us to look after more kakapo in a non-invasive way, and as the population grows, these tools will be crucial."