Once thought extinct, the Kakapo are now the world’s rarest and strangest wild parrot — a flightless, nocturnal bird with an odd mating call.
With a lifespan up to 120 years, the Kakapo were one of the most widespread birds on New Zealand until humans began a long process of altering the balance of the country’s ecosystems. Now the world’s last remaining Kakapo population in the world lives on a remote island and is plagued by a curse that could be their end.
The normally guarded conservation project that protects the bird has opened its doors to give the filmmaker unprecedented access to the Kakapo Recovery Program. In the style of an adventure movie, the film follows the efforts of a group of scientists and rangers who face difficult challenges in their pioneering effort to keep alive a highly endangered species with a very low number of surviving members.
Several critical issues must be overcome: the small number of females, the low genetic diversity in the surviving population, adults plagued by infertility, and the vulnerability of the young to disease.
A cure for the Kakapo is almost within reach, but the battle to save them is far from over and the Kakapo themselves still have a hand to play.
(ADVISORY: The film has several references and scenes involving bird sex, including semen being artificially extracted from one bird)
Running Time: 76 minutes
A film by Scott Mouat, Elwin Productions
Winner, Merit Award, International Wildlife Film Festival
Best Cinematography, Reel Earth Environmental Film Festival
Best Director, Documentary Edge Festival
“Highly recommended. Viewers of this film are treated to a cinematically beautiful and dramatically compelling story. Intimate footage of the Recovery Team’s passionate conservation efforts during the three years covered is intense and emotional.”
– Educational Media Reviews Online
“The Unnatural History of the Kakapo is a delight. A highly entertaining story with heart in the mouth suspense, setbacks, heroic ingenuity, and perseverance above and beyond.”
– Helen Wong, New Zealand Listener Magazine
“A beautifully told and passionately shot film.”
-Justine Andrews, TV3 Entertainment