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Hero image for The Edge of Extinction

The Edge of Extinction

Television (Full Length) – 1976

By 1896 conservationist Richard Henry was so alarmed at how introduced pests had decimated the kākāpō, New Zealand's largest parrot, that he spent four years relocating 400 birds to Resolution Island. Then he discovered ferrets had beaten him, and his efforts were in vain. By the mid 1970s the kākāpō population numbered just 12 birds. This documentary follows NZ Wildlife Service leader Don Merton's rescue team, who after two years scouring Milford Valley locate two male birds and transport them to pest-free Maud Island in the Marlborough Sounds. But there's a problem — only one female remains.

The lords of creation have imported ferrets and weasels that prey on all such things that sleep on the ground. As kākāpō cannot be expected to learn in a day what their race had forgotten for thousands of years, the chapter of their history in all likelihood is coming to a close.
– Excerpt from the 1896 journal of conservationist Richard Henry

Key Cast & Crew

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Kevin Mills

Narrator

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Neil Harraway

Producer

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Ross Johnston

Narrator

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Robert Brown

Cinematographer

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Jack Spiers

Composer

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Mark Robinson

Editor

See all 7 credits

Produced by

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TVNZ