We would do well to remember the words of Hutton and Drummond, who worked around the kakapo in 1905. "Its intelligence commands respect, and its helplessness sympathy, while its genial nature endears it to all who know it well. It repays kindness with gratitude, and is as affectionate as a dog, and as playful as a kitten".
Yet it has come to this. A handful of birds. We can only imagine what it
sounded like, hundreds of years ago, when thousands of kakapo boomed in
the night. It isn't a story or a fantasy, not a tale of other worlds. It
is our own, fantastic home.
Why save the kakapo? Why save any creature on the verge of extinction? Mark Carwardine answers, in the book Last Chance To See:
"Every animal and plant is an integral part of its environment... If they disappear, so could many other species. And conservation is very much in tune with our own survival. Animals and plants provide us with life-saving drugs and food, they pollinate crops and provide important ingredients for many industrial processes. Ironically, it is not often the big and beautiful creatures, but the ugly and less dramatic ones, that we need most.
There is one last reason for caring, and I believe that no other is necessary. It is certainly the reason why so many people have devoted their lives to protecting the likes of rhinos, parakeets, kakapos, and dolphins. And it is simply this: the world would be a poorer, darker, lonelier place without them."