Sirocco the kakapo was the guest of honour at a party on Tuesday night to thank the NZ Aluminium Smelter for its support of the birds’ recovery programme. The partnership is set to end in December, with future funding uncertain.
CAMERON BURNELL/ FAIRFAX NZ
The future of the Department of Conservation’s kakapo recovery programme appears uncertain, with the Tiwai Point aluminium smelter looking at pulling out of its commercial funding after 25 years.
The Southland-based New Zealand Aluminium Smelter has backed the programme since 1990, but the deal is set to end in December.
Conservation Minister Maggie Barry declined to answer questions on Tuesday about whether the department would give extra money to support kakapo recovery once the contract ended.
NZAS funded one-fifth of DOC’s annual $1 million budget caring for and breeding the critically endangered flightless parrots, contributing $4.5m and hundreds of volunteer hours since 1990.
Both Barry and DOC said in written statements that they were committed to the recovery programme. DOC was “actively working” with NZAS, as well as other parties, to secure continued funding, both statements said.
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