The Morgan Foundation has lent its support to the search for the South Island kōkako by matching the $5000 reward offered in January for definitive proof that the South Island kōkako is still alive.
NZ$10,000 is now on offer to the person who provides the evidence needed to confirm the continued existence of this very special bird. It was known to be alive in the 1960s but classified as extinct thereafter. Compelling reports of sightings in recent years have resulted in official recognition that it may still exist.
“We’re passionate about the conservation of New Zealand’s native species and we would love to hear that the wonderful South Island kōkako has been found and efforts can begin to bring it back from the brink of extinction,” said Morgan Foundation trustee, Jessi Morgan. “If our offer to match the reward encourages more people to join the search and enjoy our native forests, we’ll be delighted with the outcome. If we are called upon to pay the reward, we will be absolutely thrilled!”
Mōhua Investments ltd put up the initial $5000 reward. Its director and a trustee of the South Island Kōkako Trus, Nigel Babbage, said: “From the reports I have heard and speaking to some of the people who have reported seeing the bird, I am convinced that it is still alive. Those reports have come from Stewart Island, Fiordland, South Westland and all the way up to Kahurangi National Park and the Marlborough Sounds.
“I’d like to encourage all backcountry enthusiasts to be our eyes and ears out there and to log possible encounters on the South Island Kōkako Trust’s website.”
The trust will review every report received and then submit any strong evidence received to independent expert analysis. The $10,000 reward will be paid once a panel of New Zealand’s expert ornithologists agrees that the bird exists.