+ 56 Minutes on one disk • Gr. 9-Adult
A film by Scott Mouat, Elwin Productions
"Editor's Choice. Highly recommended. This is an excellent DVD about Kakapos, flightless parrots that are on the verge of extinction. High school and college students interested in understanding the many dimensions of saving at-risk species will enjoy this DVD. The photography is outstanding - especially the use of infrared cameras placed in the nests, allowing viewers to see the young chicks."
- Science Books and Films (AAAS)
"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
"Highly recommended. For anyone interested in teaching about species' recovery programs, this DVD is an excellent resource. The filmmaker does a marvelous job of capturing, in a brief snap shot, both the challenges and triumphs that occur in such programs. Viewers will also find opportunities for discussing the costs and benefits of saving a single species."
- NSTA Recommends (National Science Teachers Association)
"This beautifully photographed film captures the scenic majesty of the New Zealand landscape and the verdant plumage of these rare birds. Mature students will witness conservation in action, and classes studying the importance of genetic diversity will find much to discuss."
- Library Journal
"A beautifully told and passionately shot film."
-Justine Andrews, TV3 Entertainment
"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
Best Ornithological Film Menigoute Film Festival (France)
Winner, Merit Award, International Wildlife Film Festival
Best Cinematography, Reel Earth Environmental Film Festival
Best Director, Documentary Edge Festival
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)