South Island Kokako Charitable Trust
Kokako chasers head into Marsden Valley hills 6 April 2015
Nelson Mail, 2015 news report
3 News - Bird-spotters using technology to find Kokako 6 April 2015
Nice piece from 3 News with the latest on the search from the Nelson area.
Bird-spotters hoping to prove the elusive South Island Kokako is not extinct believe modern technology could be the key to solving a 40-year mystery.
The species was thought to be extinct, but after reported sightings near Reefton it was reclassified as 'data deficient'.
The call of the South Island Kokako is something Rhys Buckingham hopes to one day hear for himself and despite hunting for 40 years, he's not ready to give up just yet.
"We've prepared a strategic plan and what we think now, to make any headway, we've got to use state-of-the-art hi-tech technology to try and get our bird," he says.
Mr Buckingham is wasting no time, setting up near Nelson where pest trapper Don Sullivan believes he spotted a South Island Kokako.
"I saw this bird and I said 'oh' and I looked at it and it was in a nest and it didn't do anything and it just stayed there and then I said 'oh, what a lovely little bird.'"
But identifying the bird isn't easy. In the past, feathers thought to be those of the Kokako have been DNA profiled but have either been lost or identified as coming from another species.
"There is problems with contamination and they admit that and sometimes, in one particular case the man high up in the Ornithological society wanted to see the feather and he rang me and he said there is no way that feather is a blackbird feather," says Mr Buckingham.
Determined to finally prove their existence, they've turned to technology to help track the Kokako.
"Recent advances in technology including camera traps and also sound recording technology," says Ron Moorhouse of the South Island Kokako Conservation Trust. "And sound identification software have just revolutionised our ability to detect these things."
Now they have to sit and wait for the birdsong they're seeking.