Lee, a male kakapo (the world's only flightless parrot species), has responded to treatment for lead poisoning at the Auckland Zoo’s New Zealand Centre for Conservation Medicine (NZCCM).
Transferred in April from Codfish Island, off Stewart Island, to Anchor Island in Fiordland, Lee was discovered to have lost a kilogram of weight by August, dropping his weight to 1.2 kg. He was then removed to Auckland Zoo for emergency treatment. Blood tests established that Lee had lead poisoning and treatment was commenced to remove the lead from his system by use of calcium compounds. The lead poisoning may have resulted from a fishing sinker or shotgun pellets in the environment.
Lee is now up to 1.7 kg bodyweight and will be returned to Codfish Island, his home of 25 years, instead of Anchor Island.
Lee is one of only 91 known kakapo in the world.