Friday 23 March 2018
Happy 21st Birthday
birthday portrait image of Sirocco taken by DOC Ranger Jake
Osborne in early February 2018 on his island home in
Sirocco, the Department of
Conservation’s (DOC) spokesbird kākāpō, celebrates his
21st ‘birthday’, officially known as his hatchday, today
and DOC is encouraging others to join in his milestone
After a rough start to life 21 years ago with a
respiratory illness that led him to imprint on humans as a
chick, Sirocco is now world-famous, with an international
fanbase, huge online following, celebrity interviews and a
is a national treasure.
“As we would for a much-loved
family member, we are celebrating Sirocco’s 21st hatchday
by sharing our favourite moments, photos and videos of him
and encouraging his fans to join in and wish him a happy
hatchday,” says Kākāpō operations manager Deidre
“While there are just 149 birds left, the future
is looking brighter for kākāpō, with an upcoming bumper
breeding season predicted based on rimu fruit counts,”
says Ms Vercoe.
While DOC and his fans may be celebrating,
the guest of honour will be having, what is presumed, to be
a quiet birthday. Earlier this year Sirocco came out of
hiding after two years “off the grid” due to a failed
transmitter. He is spending his hatchday in the safety of
his predator free Fiordland island.
Sirocco was named New
Zealand’s spokesbird for conservation after he shot to
fame following an encounter with zoologist Mark Carwardine,
who was filming a BBC documentary – Last Chance To See,
with British actor Stephen Fry.
Since then, he’s been a
famous advocate for kākāpō conservation, making
occasional appearances at sites such as predator free
sanctuaries around New Zealand.
With the 149 kākāpō in
existence living on remote islands, opportunities to see
kākāpō are very limited. Sirocco’s ease around people
presents a unique opportunity for the public to get to see
one of these incredible birds. His cheeky nature has made a
big impact on those who meet him, and his story has helped
introduce the world to kākāpō.
How to wish Sirocco a
How to Donate to the Kākāpō Recovery
• By donating just $3 the Kākāpō
Recovery Programme can achieve more for kākāpō