Archives For kakapo

Tourism operator Real Journeys diverted from ordinary Christmas gifts this year to support Kākāpō Recovery by ‘adopting’ a few of the critically endangered parrots.

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Our Director-General has been busy. He tells us about the Kākāpō Ball; a generous donor with a deep love of nature; a 21st birthday and more…

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Artist Janet Luxton writes about her inspiring support for kākāpō recovery.

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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.

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He’s better looking than Bieber, more charismatic than Clooney and he has some pretty hardcore admirers.

Sirocco at Zealandia. Photo copyright of Janice McKenna.

One handsome bird

Sirocco the kākāpō is our social media superstar and New Zealand’s Official Spokesbird for Conservation. Today he has reached an amazing milestone in his quest for world domination by reaching a massive 100,000 devoted fans on his Facebook page.

This parrot is not just a national treasure, but also an international rock-star with fans from as far away as Serbia and Brazil. Over 6000 of his fans speak Arabic, 7000 speak Portuguese and 140 fans are even fluent in Pirate – arrrrrr me hearties!

Sirocco the rock-star kakapo book.

The rock-star

Through both Facebook and Twitter, Sirocco connects his fans (now over 100,000), their friends (millions of them), and the wider social media community (billions of them) to conservation messages and stories right here in New Zealand.

Sirocco's Facebook page.

100,000 likes

Sirocco’s high-flying career was launched in 2009 off the back of the BBC’s ‘Last Chance to See’ programme, when Sirocco attempted to mate with zoologist Mark Carwardine’s head. Footage of this event has now generated more than 6 million hits on YouTube.

Sirocco on Mark Carwardine's head with Stephen Fry.

Mark and Stephen

In January 2010 Sirocco was officially recognised as a conservation ambassador by the Prime Minister John Key, who named him the “Official Spokesbird for Conservation”. Mr Key said Sirocco would bring attention to the plight of our endangered species.

Sirocco is currently touring the country and will be on show from 19 September – 5 October at the Orokonui Ecosanctuary in Dunedin.

You can become one of Sirocco’s loyal followers over on Facebook and Twitter.

By DOC’s Andrea Crawford, Dunedin.

Over 1,000 people met three remarkable kākāpō chicks during a public viewing in Arrowtown near Queenstown recently.

The three kākāpō chicks together.

The three kākāpō chicks together

The smiles on people’s faces told it all—pure delight at seeing three kākāpō chicks at Arrowtown’s Athenaeum Hall.

Event sponsor Real Journeys’ Chief Executive, Richard Lauder, observed that the chicks were received like “rock stars” by the local community.

Arrowtown Hall was packed with people.

Arrowtown Hall was packed with people

Many people at the ‘Kākāpō Chicks Day Out‘ expressed thanks to DOC, saying they appreciated how special it was to get the chance to see these remarkable, rare and charismatic native birds.

It was great people got to see the chicks and learn about what makes them so special and, of course, raise awareness to assist with their recovery.

Students observing two kākāpō chicks through the glass.

Students meet two of the three kākāpō chicks on display in Arrowtown

Welfare of the chicks was critical, so all steps were taken to ensure they remained healthy and relaxed.

They took all the attention in their stride.

As well as a viewing opportunity, people listened to talks by DOC’s Kākāpō Recovery team, watched an audio-visual display and asked the kākāpō staff plenty of questions.

Kakapo chick looking at the camera.

Kākapō chick strikes a pose

The event raised about $5,000 for the programme, through gold coin donations, merchandise sales, and through the Kākāpō Adoption Programme.

The chicks will soon be moved to Whenua Hou/Codfish Island where they will spend four weeks in an outdoor pen. They will then be released into the wild and monitored closely for the next year while they are particularly vulnerable to misadventure as they learn about their wild habitat.

Watch the video by Real Journeys:

Do you follow Sirocco the kākāpō on Facebook and Twitter? This charismatic kākāpō is an ambassador for his species and New Zealand’s official Spokesbird for Conservation.

By Ashwika Kapur, Filmmaker

Ashwika Kapur holding a video camera.

Ashwika Kapur

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 looking through a hole in a wooden box.

Peek-a-boo

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 claws around a tree branch.

Check out those rockstar claws

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.

Sirocco amongst the trees.

Curious Sirocco

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: