via telegraph.co.ukThe New Zealand prime minister has given the country’s most famous parrot a job in his government, it has emerged.
An endangered kakapo parrot, named Sirocco, which rose to fame last year after it attempted to mate with the head of Mark Carwardine, the wildlife presenter, during the BBC’s 'Last Chance to See' series, has been appointed by John Key as the world’s first “spokesbird for conservation”.
Footage of the incident attracted more than half a million hits on the video-sharing website, YouTube.
Mr Key claimed that the notorious and rare bird will be the ideal ambassador for conservation.
“He’s very media-savvy, 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 for New Zealand,” he said.“Sirocco can speak very loudly on this topic and by the end of this campaign people will be a lot more aware of what’s going on.”
Mr Key said Sirocco would focus attention on the plight of endangered species.
Kakapos are endemic to New Zealand – there were only 51 known kakapo in 1995 but thanks to extensive conservation efforts the number has risen to 124. Some 33 chicks have been transferred to sanctuary islands in southern New Zealand, where it is hoped they will continue to boost the recovery of the species.
“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. This is our biodiversity to protect and Sirocco can help spread that message,” said Kate Wilkinson, New Zealand’s conservation minister.
* See Sirocco’s website and video – www.spokesbird.com