Eggshell-ent Tape Applications

Friday July 23, 2021

What do conservationists do when the egg of a rare parrot gets crushed? They wing it – with tape.

Kakapos used to be a fairly common birds in New Zealand, but when European settlers introduced predators like cats to the island, the slow, flightless parrots did not stand much of a chance. Now, they are critically endangered, and conservationists are determined to save them.

That’s why when a mother kakapo, Lisa, accidentally crushed her chick’s egg, workers at Kakapo Recovery sprang into action.

Using masking tape, conservationists managed to carefully reconstruct the shell and patch cracks, protecting the incubating chick, named Lisa One, within. Hoping the tape would be enough, it was the best they could do to try to ensure Lisa One’s survival. After placing the final piece of tape, all they could do was wait.

Just two days later, thanks to tape and the resourcefulness of the Kakapo Recovery workers, Lisa One hatched healthy. She survived to join a population of then only 125 kakapos.

Lisa One is not the only endangered bird to have been saved by tape. Also in New Zealand, a damaged kiwi egg made its way to Rainbow Springs Nature Park, where workers would attempt to save the chick inside.

With a portion of the egg larger than the size of a thumb falling off and membrane injury, no one had ever encountered such severe damage. Attempting to repair the egg, conservationists attached old egg shells to the cracked areas on the kiwi’s shell using masking tape.

Workers estimated that the kiwi chick had just over a week before it was due to hatch. Hoping it would survive, conservationists monitored the egg for 11 days before it finally hatched. Suitably dubbed Fissure, the kiwi was in perfect health.

Conservationists were overjoyed. One of the experts working with the egg, Claire Travers, said, “To be honest I didn’t think the chick had any chance of surviving because the hole in the shell was so big, I was absolutely over the moon when it hatched. It really gave me a thrill that against all odds we had saved one of our iconic kiwi chicks.”

When an animal faces danger, conservationists will surely find a way to save it. In more than these two instances, tape has been used in a pinch to save and hatch eggs. With enough determination, tape can be used in many egg-ceptional ways.

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