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Learning to live with the inquisitive kea
June 13th, 2014
[DoC press release]
An opportunity to learn all about the inquisitive kea and how to live together without conflict is coming to Motueka on Tuesday 24 June.
The kea is well known for its explorations in alpine carparks. But over the past couple of years kea have been venturing down towards the Abel Tasman beach settlements, and not everyone appreciates their presence.
Leigh Marshall, Department of Conservation Ranger Services, Biodiversity, says a visit by the Kea Conservation Trust will provide people with ways of learning how to live peacefully with this cheeky bird, as well as learning more about the species.
"Kea are neophilic - they love exploring anything new. They are attracted to human activity and belongings, and anything soft and pliable is of particular interest. Anything which provides a food reward is even more interesting.
"They are also the world's only mountain parrot, highly intelligent, and a nationally threatened species. Fewer than 5000 kea remain, found only in the South Island of New Zealand."
The Kea Conservation Trust note that kea face nine major threats to their continuing existence, one of which is human reaction to conflict situations. Tamsin Orr-Walker, Chair of the Kea Conservation Trust, recognises that kea behaviour can be annoying.
"We work with communities to find solutions to these conflict issues. Simply making a few changes, such as putting gear away, cleaning up rubbish, leaving doors and windows closed, and never feeding kea can make it possible to live conflict free."
The Kea Conservation Trust will be presenting a free community talk at 7pm on 24 June at the Motueka Sports Pavilion, as part of a national advocacy tour. The theme of the tour is 'Conflict - impacts and solutions'.
The talk will look at conflict in both a global and local context, and discuss real conflict situations specific to kea. Discussion on experiences and solutions will be encouraged.
Tamsin says, "Our aim is not only to share what we have learned about this charismatic species over the years, but also to hear your thoughts and experiences so we can ensure a future for this iconic mountain parrot."
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