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(BNN) — The takahē population has reached 400 for the first time in a century, causing experts to question whether New Zealand has enough grass to cope.

The chonky lawn-munching birds were thought to be extinct until 1948, when they were rediscovered hiding out in the Murchison Mountains near Te Anau. Reports from the time suggest the birds had become “fed up with humans introducing stoats and shit” and retreated to the peace and tranquility of the mountains.

Their rapid ascent to swarm status was confirmed by the Department of Conservation last week, who released the results of its annual takahē count. New Zealand is now home to 418 of these chonky lawn-munching round-bois.

However, some experts question whether they are now reaching plague proportions, and have grave concerns for the future of grass in New Zealand.

“Takahē are essentially bird-shaped juicers. They chomp the green blades, extract the tasty juice, and poo out the tough fibre.” explained Dr Eaton Tussock, an expert in takahē nutrition.

“These round bois snack continuously for 19 hours a day, making them large and in charge of all the grass they meet.”

A single takahē produces between 7 and 9 metres of poo each day. Their ability to push out vast amounts of poo has long supported New Zealand’s artisanal manure exports, worth $1.4 million each year to the Fiordland economy.

But with more than 400 tussock-gluttons, experts predict New Zealand could run out of grass in 3–5 years.

“There will be no room for dairy cows,” said Professor Tussock.

“There will be no room for humans. There will only be takahē. We must consider the impact on New Zealand’s economy before we prioritise conservation.”

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