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10 odd ways we protect endangered species

Sept. 10, 2010, 11:50 a.m.
male kakapo bird

Photo: New Zealand Wildlife Health Centre

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Personalized perfumes

With only 91 kakapos left in the world, New Zealand scientists began looking for a way to improve breeding among the parrots. Researchers noticed that some kakapo males had females lining up for a romantic fling while other males stood idly by, and the scientists hypothesized that some male birds simply smelled better than others.

The solution? Kakapo cologne. Feathers were clipped from the birds and studied using a gas chromatograph mass spectrometer, a machine that could measure the volatile chemicals in the feathers, to develop a synthetic perfume that would encourage more diverse breeding.