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The Call of the Kokako
Since 1997, the Kaharoa Kokako Trust have been working hard to eradicate the pests from this reserve which have been decimating their local flock of critically endangered kokako. Their dedication is finally paying off as the number of adult birds has increased from a paltry 26 in the 90's to over 180 breeding-age birdies now. What an incredible effort and outstanding achievement - we were so keen to get in behind and show our support to this formidable team.
In March 2012, two excited Chalky crew travelled to the outskirts of Rotorua with lucky competition winner Kathryn Troughton in tow. We were there on a mission; to meet the Kaharoa Kokako Trustees, learn more about their fantastic work and future mission, and, hopefully, encounter the beautiful birdsthemselves.
After stumbling deep into the Kaharoa Forest in the pre-dawn darkness, we were suddenly graced with the heavenly sound of the kokako's distinctive song as they began their haunting dawn chorus. We were just mesmerised by the soulful sounds of the call of the kokako - the beautiful notes just filled the forest with song before the other birds awakened. For us, this was amazing proof that the sustained effort of the trustees is paying off, and these birds are now thriving in what was once a pest-plagued reserve. It also firmly cemented our drive to do more to help our endangered species.
Update:August 2016 - The Kaharoa Kokako population is now established enough to be used as a source for repopulating other forests! Thanks again to all those who supported this project and the Kaharoa Kokako Trust for the amazing work they do - what a great feeling to make a positive impact on our endangered species together! Check out the story here...
Located about 30km north-east of Rotorua City, the ecologically-significant Kaharoa Forest is special not only for its endangered bird species, but also its rare flora; home to our unique King Fern (whose jurassic-looking fronds sometimes reach five metres tall) these plants are also in serious decline due to being ravaged by introduced mammals. The intensive pest-control carried out by the Kaharoa Kokako Trust volunteers is ensuring these gentle giants survive in this environment too. We salute the years of hard work and love the trust has poured into this forest and our endangered species and were so happy to be able to give their project a financial boost. Of course, this has only been made possible due to the awesome support of YOU - we can see that your hearts truly beat for our kokako too - and we are proud that together, like the Kaharoa Trustees, we CAN make a difference to the health and well-being of our precious and unique native species. Thank you!