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12 December 2018

Showing our support for Sirocco the kakapo

Big, fat, soft, fluffy and lugubrious, the kakapo may have been described as the "world's largest, fattest and least-able-to-fly parrot", but the kakapo is truly remarkable.

Which is why Sirocco the charismatic kakapo is New Zealand’s "Official Spokesbird for Conservation" and one-of-a-kind taonga.

Sirocco is a media superstar. Because of a respiratory illness at three weeks old, Sirocco was hand-reared by DOC rangers. The lack of kakapo company while growing up led to Sirocco becoming more interested in us humans than his own kind. Sadly, this means he is unlikely to ever breed, but it also means that for the first time, people around New Zealand have a chance to meet a kakapo.

Sirocco’s interest in people makes him an ideal kakapo ambassador and spokesbird for all the other endangered species in New Zealand.

Sirocco travels around the country, staying at various zoos and wildlife sanctuaries, where he meets and greets people as no other kakapo can. All this travel comes with some risks, even though Sirocco himself doesn’t do the flying. So the team at Crombie Lockwood worked with our partners at the New Zealand Department of Conservation to put together a special package to insure our national treasure. He’s always in good hands on his travels, but everyone can rest easy knowing the right cover is in place.

We are really proud to support and protect Sirocco, and the Kakapo Survival Programme benefits from direct contributions by Crombie Lockwood.

Recently we got to take that support one step further. A few of our lucky Dunedin people went along to see Sirocco in the flesh (well feathers) at Orokonui Ecosanctuary, Dunedin, where he definitely seemed to be enjoying his surroundings.

Daryl Eason, technical advisor for the Department of Conservation's kakapo recovery team, was able to share a little more about Sirocco and his heritage. 

Between his ambassadorial trips, he lives wild with other male kakapo on a densely-forested Fiordland Island with plenty of food and no predators. This was where Sirocco spent his 20th birthday in 2017. Life expectancy for kakapo is an astounding 95 and individuals can live up to 120, making them possibly the longest-lived bird in the world, so we’re hoping he’s going to be around for a good long while yet.

Meeting Sirocco is a wonderful experience. If you want to know what he’s up to, you can follow him on Facebook: it’s definitely worth a visit with him if you ever get the chance.