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Which EDGE species will you vote for : The kakapo or the Californian condor? (Poll)

Discussion in 'Wildlife & Nature Conservation' started by Onychorhynchus coronatus, 4 Apr 2021.

?

which species will you vote for ?

Poll closed 14 Apr 2021.
  1. California condor

    19.2%
  2. Kakapo

    80.8%
  1. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    Thought I'd try something a little different from the mammal species poll and move to the EDGE birds.

    For the first of these polls I thought I'd make it a contest between two of the most iconic and charismatic endangered bird species on the planet: The kakapo and the Californian condor.

    At first glance there are very few similarities between these two birds as one is a flightless nocturnal parrot found in no zoo whereas the other is a gracefully flying diurnal raptor found in a number of zoos.

    However, both have been on the knife's edge of extinction and been the subject of intensive conservation efforts that have spanned decades and are classified as critically endangered by the IUCN.

    Which of these bird species interests you most / will you vote for ?

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Please also feel free to write comments regarding why you made the choice and why the species you have voted for interests you more.

    Thanks !

    Look forward to seeing the results!



    Photo credits to @Hix and @geomorph.
     
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  2. Tetzoo Quizzer

    Tetzoo Quizzer Well-Known Member

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    Kakapo is just such a unique and charismatic bird; don’t get me wrong, Californian Condor is high on my list of species I want to see (it is my only missing New World Vulture), but from an ecosystem viewpoint, it could be replaced by Andean Condor to do much the same thing. The kakapo niche is specific to the kakapo, it is a one off. If I can,I wish to volunteer for a post in their survival program one day; when I eventually get to NZ, it would still be a somewhat disappointing trip if I saw every other species but missed this one!
     
  3. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for your reply and voting @Tetzoo Quizzer !

    I do agree with you about the kakapo, it certainly is a charismatic, deeply unusual and unique bird and thankfully very popular with people.

    I'm quite fond of California condors too as I worked at a zoo which kept the species so would see them frequently and a former colleague / mentor of mine has succeeded in breeding the species there so quite significant to me.

    I also think the Californian condor is fascinating in terms of being a "living fossil", the evolutionary history, and the inspirational and complex story of their conservation.

    That said, from a purely aesthetic point of view (superficial I know..) I think the kakapo wins in terms of its appearance as the condor as interesting as it is couldn't be said to have a very winning appearance (kind of the stuff of nightmares IMO).

    I hope you get to achieve that dream of seeing a kakapo and working as a volunteer on the kakapo project in NZ, I'm sure it would be a once in a lifetime opportunity and would be incredible !
     
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  4. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    Seems like the kakapo is currently in the lead, but the condor is still an undeniably interesting species.

    Here is a video about its fascinating evolutionary history :

     
  5. Pleistohorse

    Pleistohorse Well-Known Member

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    Tough one. I love both of these birds....but there is just something about the Kakapo that I find so enthralling. That said, the Condor remains to me a very exciting and interesting bird as well...with an amazing story of conservation behind it and thrilling potential ahead.
     
  6. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, know what you mean, I love both of these birds too.

    The kakapo has a kind of je ne sais quoi, doesn't it ?

    I think apart from the size, personality, rotundness and waddling walk part of the charm is how strange it is and how it sort of defies our ideas of parrots.

    The paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould called the kiwi an "honorary mammal" due to its "whiskers" and convergent evolution of characteristics with mammals. I think the kakapo could also be described that way too with its nocturnality, herbivory and "whiskers" filling the ecological niche of a rabbit or wombat.
     
    Last edited: 5 Apr 2021
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  7. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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  8. Strix

    Strix Well-Known Member

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    I voted the kakapo because of it’s uniqueness, particularly in new zealand’s ecosystem. I’ve never seen california condors, but I have seen their andean counterpart, and they are breathtaking in flight, but I didn’t vote for them because other north american vultures could somewhat fill in for them in the food web.
     
  9. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for both the comment and voting in the poll @Strix !

    Interesting, the kakapo seems to definitely be a favourite

    Have you seen the Andean condor in the wild ? If so in which country ?

    I think that there are certainly other New world vultures that will feed upon carrion but I don't know if any would fit the ecological niche of the Californian condor as if I remember correctly the particular niche that the bird has evolved to occupy disappeared with the extinction of the late Pleistocene megafauna.
     
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  10. Strix

    Strix Well-Known Member

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    I haven’t seen condors in the wild, but I have seen them in flight and they are definitely one of my favourite birds.

    I don’t doubt your knowledge on their ecological niche as my statement was a theory based off of little knowledge, though bearing that in mind I would still rather save the kakapo.
     
  11. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    No, but I do doubt my knowledge on their ecological niche, lol, as I don't know if I have that right or whether the previous theory of that lost ecological niche is now outdated or has been turned over by new evidence.

    I read a popular science book several years ago called "Condor: To The Brink And Back--The Life and Times of One Giant Bird" (highly recommend it) which really went with the theory of the lost Pleistocene ecological niche of the condor.

    However, it was a book that was written quite some time ago and science and ecological understanding moves at breakneck speed.
     
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  12. TigerStripe

    TigerStripe Well-Known Member

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    Honestly it was a misclick. Honestly I would agree though that Kakapo’s would’ve had my vote for the uniqueness and their striking green colour :)
     
  13. TigerStripe

    TigerStripe Well-Known Member

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    But I am still amazed at how fast and amazingly the California Condor reintroduction plan has gone! So they do still strike my interest :)
     
  14. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    Oh right, lol , well I will include your vote for the kakapo or would you prefer to stick with the condor ?
     
  15. TigerStripe

    TigerStripe Well-Known Member

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    Yes please, I’ll go with the kakapo!
     
  16. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    Ok , will do ! ;)
     
  17. Cassidy Casuar

    Cassidy Casuar Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    I feel that the Department of Conservation is unnecessarily possessive of the Kakapo. I'm well aware of how it is a critically endangered species that doesn't breed every year, but regardless of this, I think that it is strange that the Department rarely gives the public the opportunity to actually see such a famous species. Temporary Kakapo displays probably make the Department plenty of money that could go towards research for how to improve the Kakapo's breeding success, so why don't these displays happen more often?
    A Kakapo was temporarily displayed at a Marae earlier this year, but for only one night! That isn't much of a window of opportunity at all. It doesn't seem fair to me.
     
  18. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for your comment and voting @Cassidy Casuar !

    That is a really interesting opinion and thanks for sharing it.

    I'm not too familiar with the situation in NZ other than the kakapo being kept on predator free islands that are under tight bio-security control etc.

    I do think it is necessary that most of the kakapo remain on these islands but having said that I do share your view that it is a great shame that the public cannot see a live kakapo.

    I believe doing so could be very illustrative of the need for conservation of NZ avifauna and increase support for efforts with the species.

    But don't you think there might be opportunities in the future for zoos to keep kakapo or indeed for the species to be released within the Zealandia fenced reserve ?
     
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  19. Cassidy Casuar

    Cassidy Casuar Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    I don't think that the Department of Conservation will be comfortable with releasing Kakapo at Zealandia unless a much greater level of mammal predator control is achieved in the surrounding area. Mammal predators are still not uncommon literally right outside the fence, and not long ago there was an incident where a Least Weasel somehow got into the sanctuary. More shockingly, there was another relatively recent incident where someone intentionally cut a hole in the fence, and it was very lucky that apparently no mammal pests went through the hole and into the sanctuary before the hole was discovered.

    As for Kakapo being kept in zoos permanently, maybe the Department of Conservation will start to feel a bit more generous if the Kakapo population increases by at least a few hundred, but for the time being, I am not holding my breath.

    I'm sorry if my opinion of the Department of Conservation seems unusually harsh, but I honestly feel that if they really cared about letting the public see Kakapo more often in the present day, then they would already be making obvious efforts in that direction.
     
  20. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    No, don't worry, it doesn't seem unusually harsh and I appreciate you frankly sharing your opinion.

    It does seem that your vote for the condor was a protest vote though which is interesting as it is a different angle and adds some more nuance to this poll.

    As I said in my previous comment apart from the general facts I am not extremely clued in with the current situation of the kakapo in New Zealand.

    Neither did I know about these recent events at the Zealandia reserve which I agree are quite alarming and certainly don't look good for the possibility / feasibility of the reintroducion of the kakapo there.

    I would hope that eventually non-conservationist New Zealanders will also get the opportunity to see this incredible bird in the flesh.
     
    Last edited: 6 Apr 2021
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