Sirocco chills out on Codfish Island

23:54, Jan 14 2010
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Superstar kakapo Sirocco is taking a break after being thrust into the international limelight last year when he became one of the world's rarest lovers.

The cheeky kakapo became a worldwide phenomenon after his attempt to mate with zoologist Mark Carwardine's head on the BBC's programme Last Chance to See, starring Stephen Fry.

After the programme screened in the United Kingdom, Sirocco's popularity soared. He went from having a handful of fans on his internet networking site Facebook to almost 5000 fans on the site yesterday.

The clip of the incident has had 1,526,997 views on YouTube, and Sirocco has 2135 followers on Twitter.

Department of Conservation outer islands area manager Pete McClelland said Sirocco was "home" on Codfish Island/Whenua Hou where he was taking a break from being in the public eye.

He was instead busy booming and behaving hyperactively as male kakapo do at this time of year.

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Twelve-year-old Sirocco is known for his friendly, and sometimes amorous, behaviour towards humans. This is why he has been involved in the Ulva Island Trust's Kakapo Encounter, and shown to the public in other parts of New Zealand.

However, Mr McClelland said there were no concrete plans in place for him for this year but there had been inquiries regarding possible tour opportunities.

This is even more of a possibility this year because the Ulva Island Trust is not holding the Kakapo Encounter.

The trust has held it every year since 2007, but secretary Anne Pullen said it had decided to concentrate on other projects this year.

The Kakapo Encounter had been run by volunteers and was "a hell of a lot of work", Ms Pullen said.

The trust had not resumed meetings for this year yet because it was the peak of the tourist season, but they would start again in late March or April, she said.

On this year's agenda will be the possibility of North Island kokako being released on Ulva Island. But it was up to DOC to decide, she said.

The Southland Times