Sirocco the kakapo an online phenomenon

07 October 2009

This week’s screening of the BBC’s “Last Chance to See” programme featuring New Zealand’s own conservation ambassador Sirocco the kākāpō, has catapulted kākāpō recovery into the international spotlight.

Department of Conservation staff have been amazed by the response that viewers of the “Last Chance to See” programme, starring Stephen Fry and Mark Cawardine, has evoked from the British public.

“His Facebook page alone jumped from 600 friends to over 2000 friends in the 48 hours following the broadcast of the kākāpō episode of “Last Chance to See”,” said Sirocco’s media advisor Nic Vallance from the Department of Conservation.

“And the Youtube clip of him getting ‘up close and personal’ with presenter Mark Cawardine has resulted in well over half a million hits.”

The show “Last Chance to See” is a remake of the series that the late Douglas Adams and Mark Cawardine recorded for radio and published a book on in 1990.

Many of the comments posted on Sirocco’s rapidly growing Facebook page send words of support and encouragement to kākāpō recovery as well as many offers of donations to continue to increase the survival of the kākāpō.

“The international interest in kākāpō is just fantastic,” said Vallance.

Scoop: full press realease on scoop

How do we pay to save our ecological treasures?

How do we pay to save our ecological treasures? |
photo by Phil Brown
Wellingtonians know how the Karori sanctuary has transformed their city. Sightings of species such as kaka, which would have been worthy of a press report 20 years ago, have become almost ordinary.

Apart from a handful of  dedicated grumblers disturbed by  the dawn chorus, the city’s population has delighted in the visible explosion in birdlife.

I can recall the private scepticism that the trust’s founding enthusiasts provoked in the early 1990s. While the vision was applauded, the scale of the New Zealand’s biodiversity catastrophe seemed almost overwhelming. Some regarded it as a quixotic gesture when the nation’s forests were collapsing around us. To others, wrapping the reserve in a predator exclusion fence was an admission of defeat – that the war was lost and that the only future for our native birds would be in outdoor museum enclosures.

How wrong they were. The trust’s most brilliant insight was to create a refuge in the heart of the capital where it could not be ignored. It created a popular constituency that has been infectious. Last week I visited the most spectacular outpost of this restorative contagion: Maungatautari. Just south of Cambridge, this deeply dissected basaltic volcano has become the international leading edge for ecological restoration, on a scale and with meticulousness that almost defies belief.

It is the size of the pest-excluded area that is mind-boggling: 3300 hectares protected by 42 kilometres of fence is an order of magnitude larger than Karori. Unlike Karori, the ancient forest canopy is still intact with huge rata and rimu. And the Maungatautari Ecological Island Trust has an even more ambitious goal than its Karori counterpart. For while Karori has eliminated the large familiar intruders, such as possums and stoats, it hasn’t eliminated mice. Maungatautari is within a stone’s throw of achieving that.

full story

Vodafone gets in behind the Yellow-eyed Penguins

Scoop: Vodafone gets in behind the Yellow-eyed Penguins

Vodafone and Run The Red are excited to announce Donatelive! a new service which is the first of its kind in New Zealand. The service enables customers with Vodafone live! capable handsets to donate to the Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust.

Users can donate $3, $5 or $9 and in return will receive multimedia content downloaded directly to their phone. Content includes Yellow-eyed penguin ringtones, screensavers and videos. Vodafone will pass on 100% of the donation to the charity.

Customers can also see information on Vodafone live! about the Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust and the work they are doing to save one of our national treasures.

This new initiative is launching to the public on October 11 in conjunction with the Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust’s 20th Anniversary. The service has been created by the 2007 Graduates as part of the Vodafone Graduate Programme and will be available for an initial three month period. full press release

Mainland — 18 Years of Supporting Penguins

Scoop: Mainland — 18 Years of Supporting Penguins

click on image for mainland

The Commitment:
Mainland has been a major sponsor of the Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust since 1989. The association has become far more than just another sponsorship arrangement and is thought to be one of the longest standing relationships between a corporate and a wildlife organisation anywhere in the world, making it very unique.

In addition to the huge financial contributions, Mainland has invested a substantial amount of resource into raising the profile of the Trust and the plight of the yellow-eyed penguin. Mainland devoted significant resource in television commercials featuring Roy – an icon synonymous with Mainland in the 80s and early 90s – and a yellow-eyed penguin, demonstrating Mainland’s further commitment to the cause. full media release