Par­rot’s star turn lifts eco-is­land’s pro­file

South Waikato News - - FRONT PAGE - By LIBBY KIS­SICK

BIRD drop­pings from the Depart­ment of Con­ser­va­tion’s Kakapo Re­cov­ery spokes­bird, Sirocco, are to be used to fund a $350,000 ma­jor al­ter­ation on Mt Man­gatau­tari’s eco­log­i­cal is­land.

The ‘‘leavings’’ of the pop­u­lar hand-raised flight­less bird, presently ed­u­cat­ing and en­ter­tain­ing at the is­land, are to be gath­ered and auc­tioned as good fer­tiliser by the Manga Trust.

The Man­gatau­tari Eco­log­i­cal Is­land Trust said the ex­pen­sive clip-on at­tach­ment pre­vents their kakapo from es­cap­ing into other parts of the re­serve as the birds are ex­cel­lent climbers and can climb up and over the pest- proof fenc­ing.

MEIT gen­eral man­ager Mal­colm An­der­son said kakapo Sirocco’s ‘‘ poo’’ will be auc­tioned as a fer­tiliser along with a voucher giv­ing the win­ning bid­der a chance to buy a rimu tree to be planted on the re­serve.

In aid of Con­ser­va­tion Week, a chance to re­lease a kiwi on to Mt Maun­gatau­tari is open to any of Sirocco’s vis­i­tors this week.

An in­ti­mate 20-minute ex­peri- ence with the cheeky en­ter­tainer will be drawn from those who made book­ings be­fore Septem­ber 1.

Like any celebrity, reg­u­lar health checks and a des­ig­nated min­der en­sure Sirocco is well cared for.

He has vis­ited Dunedin’s Orokonui Eco­sanc­tu­ary and stayed in Welling­ton’s Karori sanc­tu­ary, Zealan­dia.

Sirocco or Sir-Rocco was the first kakapo to be taken from un­der his mother’s wing to be treated for a res­pi­ra­tory ill­ness.

The kakapo is one of the rarest par­rots in the world and the heav­i­est, and has a mat­ing boom that can travel sev­eral kilo­me­tres.

The Sirocco Ex­pe­ri­ence takes place at the South­ern En­clo­sure, Tari Rd, Pukea­tua and runs un­til Septem­ber 26.

For book­ing in­for­ma­tion contact MEIT at www.man­ga­trust.org or phone 07 823 7455.

auc­tion. WEL­COME HOME: Sirocco ar­rives at Maun­gatau­tari Eco­log­i­cal Is­land Re­serve.

DUNG OF­FER: Kakapo fae­ces for

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