Sirocco season extended

05:00, Sep 14 2012
SIROCCO: The rare flightless parrot is in Waikato on a six week visit.
SIROCCO: The rare flightless parrot is in Waikato on a six week visit.

He has been called the most handsome man in the Waikato since Sonny Bill Williams, and now the gorgeous green specimen that is Sirocco Kakapo has decided to stay with us a little while longer.

Sirocco is nearing the end of his six-week season at Maungatautari, and on Thursday bookings for the "Sirocco Experience" sold out.

That prompted Sirocco and his team to decide to stay on until October 7, given more of his ardent admirers the chance to get up close and personal with their feathered conservation idol.

Tickets to the extended season will go on sale Monday morning.

So far about 4000 people have been to see the special ambassador for Kākāpō Recovery, with fans flying in from as far as Australia to get their fill of the native, flightless parrot who has a special fondness for the company of humans.

General Manager of Maungatautari Ecological Island Trust, Malcolm Anderson, said demand for Sirocco had taken everyone by surprise.

''Nothing could have prepared us for the face to face reaction to his presence,'' he said.

''Sirocco is indeed totally charming and enigmatic, it is hard to put into words the spell that he casts over everyone that has contact with him.

''We have been thrilled at how well things have gone, and knew that Kākāpō Recovery were also happy.''

Kakapo Recovery programme manager Deidre Vercoe Scott said Sirocco was loving his time here.

  "Our decision to extend Sirocco's stay in captive display is not made lightly,'' she said.

''We have to be confident that it will not have a negative impact on Sirocco's health or cause stress for him.

''But for Kakapo Recovery, where Maungatautari is concerned, it was an easy decision because Sirocco is thriving there - he's eating well, has put on weight and he's enjoying interacting with his fans."

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BIRD'S EYE VIEW: Conservation Department ranger Alisha Sherriff hand feeds Sirocco the kakapo to the delight of Hora Hora Primary School teacher Joanne Synge and students Maia Johannas, six, and Emanuele Zanoli, 12.
BIRD'S EYE VIEW: Conservation Department ranger Alisha Sherriff hand feeds Sirocco the kakapo to the delight of Hora Hora Primary School teacher Joanne Synge and students Maia Johannas, six, and Emanuele Zanoli, 12.

Waikato