To celebrate his ‘hatch-day’ today’s photo of the week is everyone’s favourite spokesbird, Sirocco the kākāpō.Continue Reading...
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The Kākāpō Recovery Programme turns 25 next year and, to celebrate, Sirocco the kākāpō—ambassador for his species and New Zealand’s official Spokesbird for Conservation—partied at Parliament last night.Continue Reading...
By Ashwika Kapur, Filmmaker
I came to New Zealand in early 2013 to chase my childhood dream of obtaining a degree in Natural History Filmmaking so I could entertain and educate audiences through timeless wildlife stories from around the world.
As part of my degree I had to make a film so I began scouting ideas, and among the weird and wonderful creatures of this far away land, I came across Sirocco the kākāpō’s story. It was just one of those things; I simply knew this was the documentary I had to make!
Sirocco is irresistibly endearing, cheekier than a monkey and remarkably bizarre in his mannerisms. Sirocco is an extraordinary character and his story is equally extraordinary; a true-blue rag to riches tale. My film sets out to tell that story; the one-of-a-kind tale of a bird catapulted to super stardom by a chain of rather strange events.
Sirocco’s story is one of hope, joy and celebration. It optimistically premises the idea that there can be no better ambassadors for conservation than animals themselves.
My film about Sirocco has recently been nominated for a Panda Award, dubbed the ‘Green Oscars’, at the Wildscreen Film Festival.
The film will be available online to view for free after the Wildscreen Film Festival in October, until then you will have to enjoy watching this short trailer:
There’s nothing quite like a kākāpō to make you smile…
“It seems that not only has the kākāpō forgotten how to fly, but it has forgotten that it has forgotten how to fly. Apparently a seriously worried kākāpō will sometimes run up a tree and jump out of it, whereupon it flies like a brick and lands in a graceless heap on the ground.” ~ Douglas Adams
Have a terrific Thursday!
Image source: thorinflowershield.tumblr.com
There are only 124 kākāpō left in the world and I have been waiting to see one up close and personal ever since I started working at DOC. I have seen the fans going crazy for kākāpō online, even voting them as the ‘World’s Favourite Species’ in a recent poll. They are a native New Zealand bird that I just had to meet.
I was glad to find out that Sirocco the kākāpō would be visiting Zealandia sanctuary in July. Sirocco has been touring New Zealand for a few years now and this was my chance to get close to one of the few remaining kākāpō left.
To say I was ‘excited’ is probably an understatement. When Zealandia announced the visit I got on their website immediately and booked my ticket for opening night. The anticipation only grew throughout June as Sirocco’s face popped up all over town and in the local newspapers and television.
The night finally arrived. It was a cool but calm one, and luckily the earthquakes from the previous couple of days had quietened down. The night tour started with a screening of part of Alison Balance’s documentary ‘To Save the Kākāpō’ where we were introduced to Sirocco and the respiratory illness that almost took his life. Sirocco developed this condition while very young and was hand-raised, which has led him to imprint on humans. This makes him very comfortable around people (some might say too comfortable).
After the film the Zealandia guide took us into the sanctuary, making sure we checked all our bags and pockets for any stowaway pests that might harm the creatures that call Zealandia home. My bag was predator free (if a little messy) so we headed out into the night and up the track to see Sirocco.
The track along the way was beautifully lit up with fairy lights. While we walked I chatted with some of the other visitors in the group. I was surprised to find people had come from all over New Zealand, as well as the United Kingdom, Germany and Japan.
Sirocco spends his days at Zealandia in a specially fenced off section of forest and at night he comes out into a display area. When we finally arrived at Sirocco’s display area he was already hopping around at the glass peering through to suss out his newest visitors. There was a group of children who he immediately ran to. Sirocco loves children and, at 16 years old, he is not much more than a child himself.
Over the next 30 minutes the DOC ranger told us all about the lifestyle of the kākāpō and about the efforts being undertaken to bring them back from the brink of extinction. Everyone managed to get a good view of Sirocco as he wandered the enclosure.
On the way back down the track we were treated to some high pitched kiwi calls that resonated around the sanctuary. Seeing a kākāpō and hearing kiwi calls all in the same night was a great experience, something I hope becomes more commonplace throughout New Zealand.
If you are in Wellington in the next few weeks I would recommend you head along and cross this unique experience off your bucket list.
Sirocco at Zealandia:
Memories to last a lifetime – the night you met a kākāpō! Don’t miss this rare chance to meet Sirocco the kākāpō at Zealandia – just 10 minutes from Wellington city. Book your date now on the Zealandia website.