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Sirocco the Kakapo Set to Charm the Waikato

August 14, 2012

Sirocco the Kakapo Set to Charm the Waikato

Sirocco, the official advocate for Kakapo Recovery, is arriving in the Waikato this week for a six-week stay at Maungatautari, in Cambridge.

New Zealand’s most famous bird – one of just 126 kakapo known to exist - will be ready to receive visitors from August 18, 2012.

Kakapo Recovery Programme manager Deidre Vercoe Scott said Maungatautari would be the only place to host Sirocco this year, following two successful stints at Orokonui Ecosanctuary, near Dunedin and ZEALANDIA, in Wellington, last year.

And while Sirocco’s main mission was to raise awareness about the plight of the critically endangered species and Kakapo Recovery’s work to save the iconic birds, his visit to Maungatautari had another purpose, Ms Vercoe Scott said.

“At the moment, because of the risk predators pose to our vulnerable kakapo population, all our birds live on offshore islands.

“But Kakapo Recovery hopes that, one day, when the numbers have increased, we will be able to reintroduce them to the mainland. Given the size of Maungatautari, and its efforts to be predator-free, it is definitely the type of site that could suit kakapo. Sirocco’s visit will help to highlight this potential,” she said.

Sirocco is a wild bird who lives year-round on Maud Island, in the Marlborough Sounds. He was chosen as the advocate for Kakapo Recovery because, as a hand-reared chick, he preferred the company of people.

Ms Vercoe Scott said he provided a great opportunity for the public to engage with and learn about the special New Zealand parrot.

Sirocco will be housed in a specially-built enclosure set in a native-forest site, allowing visitors to experience kakapo in their natural environment.

“We have strict guidelines in place for his health and welfare, and we are confident Sirocco will, once again, thrive with the attention.”

Conservation in partnership:
DOC’s kākāpō recovery work is actively supported by a partnership involving New Zealand Aluminium Smelters Limited and Forest & Bird.

First signed more than 22 years ago, the agreement is DOC’s longest running conservation partnership and has already injected more than $3.75 million towards breeding programmes, predator proof sanctuaries and innovative research for the flightless parrot.

Its long term kākāpō recovery goal is to have 150 females at three separate sites, one of which is self-sustaining.

For more information go to: www.kakaporecovery.org.nz


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