Sirocco the kākāpō named a conservation ambassador
Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication.
IntroductionNew Zealand’s world famous parrot – Sirocco the kākāpō – has been officially recognised as a conservation ambassador by the Prime Minister John Key.
Date: 29 January 2010
New Zealand’s world famous parrot – Sirocco the kākāpō – has been officially recognised as a conservation ambassador by the Prime Minister John Key.
To launch New Zealand’s involvement in the International Year of Biodiversity and in recognition of Sirocco’s own celebrity status the 12-year old kākāpō has been named New Zealand’s “Official Spokesbird for Conservation”.
Sirocco, one of only 124 kākāpō remaining in the world, was catapulted into stardom after featuring in the BBC’s “Last chance to see” programme. This saw a huge rise in popularity of kakapo and interest from people wanting to know more about New Zealand’s unique native wildlife.
“Sirocco was an obvious choice for the role – he has a huge worldwide following and he demonstrates the importance of looking after the very special nature that makes New Zealand so different”, said Conservation Minister Kate Wilkinson.
The International Year of Biodiversity was launched at a ceremony in Berlin with the German Chancellor Angela Merkel warning the world will face "enormous costs" if no action is taken against securing biodiversity. The world is facing a global extinction crisis which threatens not only the natural environment but mankind itself - all life on Earth depends upon species, ecosystems and natural resources.
New Zealand is home to the world’s only flightless and nocturnal parrot, the last surviving member of a dinosaur family and the world’s smallest marine dolphin - we have so much unique native wildlife in every nook and cranny across the country. This is our biodiversity to protect and Sirocco can help spread that message.
“We’re justifiably proud of our natural living space and our reputation as a destination where people can experience amazing wildlife, landscapes and wilderness.
“I have every confidence that Sirocco’s natural charm and charisma will encourage people to become more engaged with conserving New Zealand’s natural heritage”, said Ms Wilkinson.
A new website, created jointly by the Department of Conservation and Tourism New Zealand, has also been unveiled to help profile the ongoing work of protecting New Zealand’s unique wildlife and plants. People can continue to interact with Sirocco on the new spokesbird.com website which will include regular blog updates from this charismatic character, as well as videos, photographs and links to his Facebook and Twitter accounts.