Sirocco a Hit on Ulva Island
November 9, 2009
Hundreds of people took the opportunity to see New Zealand’s conservation superstar Sirocco, the kakapo, on Ulva Island recently.
Sirocco became an internet sensation after his affectionate encounter with a BBC presenter was posted on YouTube, receiving more than a million hits.
The Ulva Island Trust hosted the 12-year-old kakapo on the island from September 26 to October 26.
Ann Pullen from the Trust said the publicity around Sirocco got people more excited about seeing him.
“He really is a charmer. You can say he is a bit of a showman who loves attention and being around people. He is a great advocate for conservation, the kakapo recovery programme and Ulva Island,” she said.
This was the third year the Trust had run the Kakapo Encounter, highlighting what can be achieved when the community, businesses and the public sector join forces.
“It was a great way to raise the profile of Ulva Island and show the world that Stewart Island is a great place to visit, ” Ann said.
The first Kakapo Encounter was held in 2006 and again in 2008 and 2009 to encourage more visitors to Stewart Island during the slow tourism period.
Ann said the Kakapo Encounter has made a significant contribution to the Stewart Island community, both economically and educationally.
“Some travelled a great distance to see him. We had some visitors who came all the way from England, America and Japan especially for this event.”
While there are no plans for a 2010 Kakapo Encounter, Ann said the Trust would continue to raise awareness of the benefits of conservation and help the Department of Conservation with management of the island, including species relocations and facility upgrades.