DoC defends kakapo against ecological triage

An Australian ecologist has suggested that efforts to prevent the extinction of the native kakapo should be abandoned in favour of protecting other  species.

However, the Department of Conservation has indicated that it will continue to support the current Kakapo Recovery Programme. Reporter Bronwyn Torrie covered the story in the Dominon Post.

Update: For TVNZ’s Close Up, Mark Sainsbury, interviewed Professor Cory Bradshaw (the Australian ecologist suggesting efforts be discontinued) , Al Morrison (Director of DoC) and Nicola Vallance from Forest and Bird.

An excerpt from the Dominion Post (read in full here):

It might not be worth trying to save the kakapo, the critically endangered native bird that has been on the brink of extinction for decades, an Australian scientist says.

Instead, resources should go into saving species that have more chance of recovering and surviving in the evolving environment.

“It’s a wonderfully weird creature and it’s a shame that we will probably lose it regardless of any interventions. Harsh, but somebody’s got to say it,” said Cory Bradshaw, of the University of Adelaide’s director of ecological modelling.

Using a mathematical formula, Professor Bradshaw and colleagues from Adelaide and James Cook University, in northern Queensland, created a new index called Safe (Species’ Ability to Forestall Extinction), which ranks the probability of animals becoming extinct based on population.