Santa will need to redirect a few presents this Christmas, as two Kākāpō are to be discharged from Auckland Zoo to fly home to Whenua Hou Island in time for Christmas.
Cyndy, an adult female, and Huhana 2-A, a juvenile, are being discharged from Auckland Zoo on Wednesday morning, where they were treated for aspergillosis - a fungal disease which infects the respiratory system.
Their stay follows an unprecedented health crisiss for the endangered species: nine kākāpō have been killed by the disease this year, four of whom died before they even left their home island.
The two have remained under the watchful eye of veterinary staff since May this year.
Their departure leaves just three kākāpō at Auckland Zoo, with two more expected to return home next month.
Auckland Zoo Resident Vet Lydia Uddstrom said as much as the team loved the kākāpō, they were excited to see them return home.
"We love and adore them, but its very much time for them to go home and get on with being kākāpō," she said.
Huhana 2-A will now spend some time getting used to the outdoors on Whenua Hou Island.
"When they've been in the zoo they've been in very strict quarantine, so they've not had any access to the outside world," Uddstrom said.
She will need to learn skills such as how to climb up and down trees, as well as to take shelter when it rains, Uddstrom said.
Uddstrom said the juvenile bird was "a little shy", but like any young parrot interested in exploring her environment.
"It's amazing to watch them explore the world," she said.
Originally from Stewart Island, Cyndy, an adult female, will return home.
She was "very tolerant" of the veterinary treatment she had to undergo, Uddstrom said.
After a "huge effort" from all involved in treating the sick birds these past months, Uddstrom said she is "cautiously optimistic" that the worst is over.
"It's so hard to diagnose sometimes you don't actually know until the bird is dying," she said.
"At our peak time we had 19 birds in hospital."
The Auckland Zoo veterinary team undertook at least 60 CT scans, over 1433 diagnostic tests, 7 endoscopy procedures and 170 anaesthetics or sedations as of this month.
"Since April, 28 individual birds have been assessed at the Zoo," Uddstrom said.
The team also had to feed, collect plants, clean the kākāpō pens and house each bird.