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June 2017 Issue
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Is this bird call from the elusive South Island Kokako?

Thought extinct, several sightings of the South Island kokako (top, with orange wattle) have been reported after a $10,000 reward was posted. Photo: JG Kuelemans

The South Island Kokako Trust has had about 50 reports of possible encounters since they announced a cash reward for the rare, possibly extinct, bird.

In January, the trust announced a $5000 reward for evidence of the SI kokako, and in April, they doubled it to $10,000. Reports have come in from all over the South Island; from regions of Marlborough all the way to the outer reaches of Fiordland.

The trust recently received a “promising” sound recording from an area of native forest in the Grey Valley, but are still lacking accompanying photographic proof.

Listen to the recording here:


Ron Nilsson, a trustee, said he’s motivated by the increasing number of possible encounters.

“Many of these encounters are new to us or they corroborate earlier reports in a number of areas. We need backcountry users to be looking for evidence that this bird is still alive but it’s hard to advise where best to be looking as these very credible reports extend the length of the South Island.”

The more recent reports are of encounters from Fiordland, South Westland, the Grey Valley, Marlborough Sounds and the Heaphy Track.

Inger Perkins, SI Kokako Trust manager, said that those searching should have a look at the map of possible encounters on their website and to get in touch for more detailed information.

“We still need definitive evidence and with compelling reports from such a wide range of locations from the top to the bottom of the South Island, we are optimistic that proof will be found soon,” Perkins said in a statement.