Why are they Endangered?

 Human impact is the biggest threat to their existence right now. Around 1000 years ago, the first Maori settlers came to New Zealand and found millions of kakapo around. They declared it a favorable area and settled. When the Maori people needed food, they decided to hunt the kakapo. What they found was that the meat had a strong and stringent flavour. One description of it was like 'lamb meat'.

The feathers of the kakapo is also very soft. In their Latin name strigops habroptila, habros means soft and ptilon means feather. The Maori people took their feathers to make capes. The capes kept the wearer very warm and it was very useful in the colder regions. 

It was thousands of years ago when the kakapos had predators and since then they adapted to the easy life. With no need to fly, they developed strong legs to run and climb trees. If they did fly, they would be in easy sight of the giant eagle, their predator. This defense mechanism did not work when the Europeans arrived in the 1840s with their hunting dogs. The kakapo has a strong, sweet and fruity smell that was easily detectable for those dogs. Whenever a kakapo encountered a hunter, it would freeze and stare, like a deer in headlights, making it extremely easy prey. The kakapo was already extinct in some parts of the island since the settling of the Maori hunters, and then after the Europeans arrived, the kakapo started to disappear.

By the 1870s, many hunters and collectors had noticed the decline in kakapo numbers and instead of deciding to slow down the hunting, many increased their hunt, wanting to get as many as they can, before the kakapo numbers ran out.