Sirocco the Kakapo wings his way to Parliament

The only bird with a government job made his first trip to Parliament today to mark a milestone in Kakapo recovery.

Sirocco the Kakapo made the special trip at the end of his tour of the country in part to mark the 25th anniversary since the founding of the partnership to save the critically endangered species.

Conservation Services manager Deidre Vercoe says the partnership between the Department of Conservation, New Zealand Aluminium Smelters and Forest and Bird has led to more than doubling of the population.

In 1990 when the partnership began, the population was 49, but now there are 126.

But Ms Vercoe says there's still a long way to go to reach the organisation's population goal.

"Kakapo Recovery has a security milestone that we'd like to reach and once we reach that we'll be a little bit more relaxed that they're not under threat of extinction and that is to have a population of at least 150 females at three different sites across the country," she says.

When the programme started there were around 21 females, but that number has increased to 60.

Sirocco, the official spokesbird for conservation, shot to fame after performing an amorous act during the filming of the BBC series Last Chance to See hosted by Stephen Fry and has more than 100,000 Facebook fans.

Ms Vercoe says while Sirocco hasn't been good at breeding, he's more than made up for it by raising the profile of the species.

"No other Kakapo can do this – they're all very wild-living birds. Sirocco, with his wanting to be around people just makes him perfect for this role."

Parliament was Sirocco's last outing for around eight months while he goes back home for a bit of down time.

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source: newshub archive