Kakapo world’s most-loved species: poll (+video)

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(Stuff.co.nz) Step aside tigers, wolves, and elephants – a rare New Zealand parrot is officially the world’s most loved species.

United Kingdom-based wildlife education charity Wildscreen asked people to vote on their favourite species, and the kakapo has come out tops.

And it appears Sirocco, the so-called randy kakapo which was appointed as spokesbird for conservation by the prime minister, has played his part.

Sirocco got worldwide fame when when Stephen Fry visited Codfish Island for a documentary and the parrot was caught humping BBC cameraman Mark Cawardine’s head.

Video of the amorous encounter went viral, attracting about 5 million YouTube hits.

A release from Wildscreen’s website, ARKive, said Kiwis rallied behind the kakapo to raise awareness of the threat of extinction it currently faced.

People from 162 countries voted in the poll, which got more than 14,000 votes.

Screen Shot 2013-05-28 at 6.52.50 PM”It has come as a bit of a surprise that the rare kakapo has been voted number one,” Wildscreen chief executive Richard Edwards said.

“When we launched the campaign, we wanted to increase awareness of the diversity of animals, plants and fungi, including those threatened with extinction.

“We expected more high-profile animals such as the lion or meerkat to top our poll.

“This result shows the enormous power of social media to raise awareness of animals that are on the brink of extinction.”

Sirocco, one of just 124 kakapo left, will be on show at Wellington’s Zealandia sanctuary for six weeks from July.

THE TOP 10

  • 1 Kakapo
  • 2 Tiger
  • 3 African elephant
  • 4 Grey wolf
  • 5 Polar bear
  • 6 Red panda
  • 7 Cheetah
  • 8 Snow leopard
  • 9 Bornean orang utan
  • 10 Amur leopard

Siroccois akakapo, a large nocturnal parrot, and one ofthe few remaining kakapoin the world. He achieved individual fame following an incident on the BBC television seriesLast Chance to Seein which he attempted to mate with zoologistMark Carwardine. Subsequent featuring of the incident on television channels around the world and onYouTuberesulted in Sirocco becoming internationally known. In his home country ofNew Zealand, Sirocco has attracted thousands of people during ‘personal’ appearances, and in January 2010 was given the title of Official Spokesbird for Conservation by Prime MinisterJohn Key. In this role, Sirocco helps advocate for conservation through human intermediaries on social media sites and blogs. (Wikipedia)

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