New Zealand's celebrity parrot, Sirocco the kakapo, has been
officially appointed as the world's first "spokesbird for
Sirocco shot to fame last year after his inappropriate actions
during the BBC's Last Chance to See series, and New
Zealand Prime Minister John Key says the notorious and rare bird
will be a perfect conservation ambassador.
Sirocco - now 13-years-old - is one of just 124 kakapo left in
the world. The flightless species is endemic to New Zealand.
John Key formally named Sirocco as official spokesbird during
the launch of New Zealand's involvement in the International Year
of Biodiversity, and in recognition of the famous kakapo's own
Sirocco's task will be to highlight New Zealand's endemic
wildlife experiences and conservation work.
'Last Chance to See'
The kakapo's appearance with British media personality Stephen
Fry on Last Chance to See featured an incident where Sirocco
made an unusual mating attempt with presenter Mark Carwadine.
The quirky footage had more than half a million hits on YouTube,
and sent social networking sites buzzing with comments from amused
The result was a huge rise in the popularity of the rare
species, and interest from people wanting to know more about New
Zealand's unique native wildlife.
Prime Minister John Key said Sirocco's status made him an
obvious choice for the role.
"He's a very media savvy bird, he's got a worldwide fan base -
they hang on every squawk that comes out of his beak. He'll be a
great official spokesbird and a great ambassador for New
New Zealand's biodiversity
New Zealand Conservation Minister Kate Wilkinson said Sirocco
could help raise awareness of New Zealand's unique biodiversity and
the need to protect it.
"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 Kate
The Department of Conservation (DOC) and Tourism New Zealand
have also unveiled a new website - www.spokesbird.com - that will help profile New
Zealand's unique wildlife and plants to an international
The website will allow people to interact with Sirocco and view
his regular blog updates as well as videos, photographs and
links to his Facebook and Twitter
accounts. It also contains information about New Zealand and our
other unique flora and fauna.
Tourism New Zealand's international offices will be working to
gain exposure for Sirocco and his new role as 'spokesbird' in key
outdoor, wildlife tourism and green living online communities,
particularly in the UK, Northern Europe and US.
Visit www.spokesbird.com or watch more Sirocco videos on YouTube
Read more about Tourism New Zealand's International PR
Update: 2 Feb 2010
The UK's Daily Telegraph website was quick to pick up the
news of Sirocco's appointment. A story headlined 'Parrot that tried to mate with Mark Carwardine is
given government role' was a lead story on 1 February. It is
currently the most-read story on the travel section of www.telegraph.co.uk (4.5 million monthly unique
Sirocco has also appeared on www.metro.co.uk
(3.2 million monthly unique users).