Sirocco to visit Pelorus Bridge
A whistlestop visit to the Pelorus Bridge is planned for conservation spokesbird Sirocco on Monday.
Department of Conservation partnership ranger Siobain Browning said the 16-year-old kakapo, the rare native parrot, has become an official advocate for the New Zealand Kakapo Recovery Programme. He will make a short appearance at Pelorus Bridge on Monday before the final leg of his journey to Maud Island. He left there in July to spend time at the Zealandia wildlife sanctuary at Karori, Wellington, and the Orokonui Ecosanctuary, near Dunedin.
Ms Browning said Sirocco's time at the Pelorus Bridge on Monday depends on how he has handled the long-distance journey from Dunedin. A DOC ranger accompanying him would assess his condition, she said.
Sirocco's bond with humans began in 1997, just three weeks after he hatched on Codfish Island, near Stewart Island. Signs of an infection prompted DOC staff to take the chick to the rangers' station. In its warm, clean environment, the bird was fed special food until it grew strong and healthy.
However, Sirocco wanted nothing to do with other kakapo when he was released back into the wild. He kept returning to the rangers' hut, where he looked through the glass and listened to the human voices.
Eventually he was moved to Maud Island in the Marlborough Sounds to see if the new environment would encourage Sirocco to start acting like a bird.
He made some new human friends.
These days his people skills are used to help save his species. "He's a spokesbird for conservation," Ms Browning said.
"He has a blog and a website which is used to spread the world about conservation. He will tweet and blog about all sorts of things going on, of other species' recovery programmes and problems with introduced species."
Sirocco's visit to Pelorus on Monday will be welcomed by everyone in the area committed to conservation, she said.
The area itself is a reminder of what the New Zealand bush was like in the past, although many species have all but disappeared. Early last century, kakapo, mohua (yellowhead), kiwi, kokako, saddleback and long-tailed bat were all common in the area. she said.
Information on the bat recovery programme will be included in stalls set up by DOC and Forest & Bird. For more information, contact Julie McLintock 03 545 0989 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Come for a family day out at Pelorus Bridge on Monday : Activities, information, guided walks in the afternoon (start 1pm). Find out about Forest and Bird's Bat Recovery Project, learn about our precious native forest and have a great day out! From about 3pm you will have a chance to see Sirocco (subject to his well-being) as he passes through Pelorus Bridge on his way "home" to Maud Island.
- © Fairfax NZ News