3 Sep 2011

Sirocco the kakapo comes to town

11:00 am on 3 September 2011

An internationally famous kakapo has arrived in Dunedin for a three-week visit.

Sirocco the kakapo shot to stardom two years ago after appearing in a BBC television programme with the actor Stephen Fry.

Kakapo were once New Zealand's third-most common bird, but there are now just 131 alive.

While in Dunedin, Sirocco is being housed at the Orokonui eco-sanctuary north of the city, in a purpose-built bush enclosure with constant security.

The sanctuary has already sold 600 tickets for a night tour to view the nocturnal bird, and hopes to attract thousands of Rugby World Cup visitors.

One of Sirocco's carers, Nicola Vallance, says he is able to be a sort of ambassador for the species because he is young and relates more to humans.

She says it's a rare opportunity to see a bird most people have heard about but never seen.