Keeping track of Kākāpō

August 14, 2017

Kākāpō, New Zealand’s large, flightless, nocturnal parrots generate few offspring but much data. The whole population of about 150 birds is intensively managed and monitored on several pest free offshore islands. The birds’ weight, breeding and mating activity, and blood and poo sample results are currently recorded in a database that has to cope with increasing amounts of data.

Dragonfly is currently scoping the project and Edward recently spent a few days with the team on Codfish Island/Whenua Hou, off Stewart Island/Rakiura, to research and plan the work.

Edward helped with some fieldwork while on the island. Credit Andrew Digby, Department of Conservation.
Edward helped with some fieldwork while on the island. Credit Andrew Digby, Department of Conservation.

“It’s an incredibly beautiful isolated place. The Kākāpō Recovery project is based in a hut on the island, which is where I stayed. It was interesting to go poking around noticing their data visualisation – like the nest monitoring for the 2016 breeding season written in marker pen on the front of the fridge! It shows you what they’re most interested in and therefore what we need to display in the database,” he says.

Edward also ran a brainstorming exercise with the rangers to find out what they wanted the database to do.

“The team is collecting more and more information through technology and that all needs a home. The plan is to create a first iteration of the database soon and take it back to the island to get their feedback.”

Read about Dragonfly’s data visualisation work for the Regional Economic Activity Report.

Kākāpō image: Jake Osborne, Creative Commons