Wanted: proof of life for South Island kōkako – In the News

Whether the South Island kōkako is extinct or still lingering in remote South Island forests has been a fierce debate among bird enthusiasts. Now a charity is offering a $5000 reward for anyone who can deliver proof that the bird still exists.

The South Island kōkako, Callaeas cinerea, used to occupy South Island forests but declined following the introduction of predatory mammals including cats. The last official sighting of the bird was in 1967, though some have continued to search for the birds. An apparent sighting in 2007 was accepted, pushing the bird back from the ‘extinct’ category instead classifying it as ‘data deficient’.

Further searching has been unsuccessful, so now the South Island Kōkako Charitable Trust is offering a bounty of $5000 for information leading to confirmation that the bird is still alive.

Possible sightings can be logged through the charity’s website.

The reward was widely covered by local media, including:

Stuff.co.nz: Reward on offer for sightings of ‘extinct’ South Island Kokako
Newshub: Wanted: Proof of life for South Island kōkako
Radio NZ: Wanted: South Island kōkako – $5k reward
TVNZ: Have you seen this bird? $5000 bounty for South Island kokako sightings