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> This one yahoo purposefully sabotaged the coalition's efforts.

Unfortunately this is always the way. In my country it's the farmer who still shoots kea[1] for predating his sheep, despite their protected status (and their being here first) and the fact that proper livestock management would prevent that - they typically only predate sheep that are snowbound, and a good farmer doesn't leave his sheep in the high country when snow's forecast.

Or it's the hunters who transport deer species that have a negative impact on native plants to new areas for their hunting opportunities, or just to stick it to the man - I have no direct link for this, but entire truckloads of Sika deer have been intercepted trying to cross the strait between our North and South islands - Sika deer are well-established in the North Island (Te Ika-a-Maui/The Fish of Maui) but non-existent in the South Island (Te Wai Pounamu/The Waters of Greenstone(Nephrite Jade)), yet deer transporter trucks filled with Sika have been stopped trying to board the ferry.

Which I don't get, plenty of red, fallow, and white-tail deer in the South Island.

Likewise, there's been a spread of fallow deer over the country - typically they don't spread that far naturally, but from the 12 original herds introduced, there's been, shall we say, a continual leakage to other areas of the country.

And of course, perhaps, ecologically more relevant, is the deliberate introduction of Bennett's wallabies from the relatively small area of the South Island they were originally released in, to areas in the North Island. They have a significant impact, and speaking frankly as a hunter, they're a bit shit, so I don't really understand why anyone would bother other than to be contrary.

[1]: http://nzbirdsonline.org.nz/species/kea and also https://www.doc.govt.nz/nature/native-animals/birds/birds-a-... with special highlights:

* A kea learnt to turn on the water tap at Aspiring Hut campground.

* A kea locked a mountaineer inside the toilet at Mueller Hut.

* A kea learnt to use tools to set off stoat traps to get the eggs.

* A kea was seen having a tug-of-war with a cat over a rabbit carcass.

* A kea that was being attacked by magpies hid behind a tramper who fended them off.

To which I'd add:

* I thought my flatmate was tipping out my cylindrical ashtray I kept outside as a passive-aggressive way of telling me to quit smoking. Turns out, two kea were tipping it on its side to kick between them like a football

* I once had to counsel a German hiker whose boots, pack, and tent were systematically dismantled by a gang of young male kea when he was camped on a high alpine pass, he fled barefoot with his belongings in his arms

* An older kea had figured out he had enough time when someone went into the local tearooms to run in and grab a chocolate bar and exit before the self-closing door closed. Until one day they moved the chocolate (on account of the kea thefts) and he was trapped in the tearooms and flew around screeching merrily to everyone's horror

* Gangs of young male kea used to hang out by the toilets in town and dare each other on to make a car's tyres make that "psssssh" sound - which often resulted in people with two flat tyres on one side seeking assistance

* When working in the visitor centre I handled three complaints about kea stealing passports at a popular photo site. There was a common modus operandi - one kea would jump around and act cute for the camera, while their buddies snuck up behind the distracted tourist and rifled through their belongings. Passports, on account of often having a shiny coat of arms, were often the first thing stolen, and then dropped into a deep ravine by a kea when it realised it wasn't worth eating

* Kea love sliding down a frosted back-country hut's roof. Which sucks if you're trying to get some sleep in it at the time




Kea are fantastic. One stole my gopro at the Remarkables years ago. I recovered it after playing a protracted game of chase while other Kea watched with glee. Eventually they got distracted by the next game (which seemed to involve jumping into snow drifts) and left my gopro alone. I wish it was recording at the time!


I used to describe them as monkeys with wings... ...and built-in Swiss army knives, to tourists. Because their beaks are amazingly versatile. They've been observed removing screws with them.

But I love how their cleverness is directly tied to the harshness of their habitat - they're the only alpine parrot, and they survive solely on their wits and their incessant curiosity, to them, everything must be investigated as a potential food source.

...or as a potential fun source, they do love a good time.


It took me a second to grasp that a type of parrot is responsible for attacking and eating sheep. Even if it's a large parrot, the fact that a 1kg bird can tear and eat the living flesh off a 100kg ruminant is remarkable.


Europe has a similar problem with farmers saying that had seen vultures (8kg) eating their 800Kg cows alive. Something that would be obviously impossible without vultures learning how to use a firearm or without finding dozens of severely hurt and dead vultures around after the battle (something that strangely, never happens).

Thus farmers can now ask for a compensation for each old cow that slips on a clift, or has a disease too expensive to treat.

Maybe Keas are enough smart to eat an alive sheep (a lamb would be much more probable), maybe once in a blue moon, but disinformation and rumour spreading for money is a global problem that biologists face.


These are alpine birds and only, rarely, attack sheep that are stuck in the snow. The sheep is defenceless, much like a man buried up to his neck.


Went up to Milford Sound some years back. We were told by our helicopter pilot that Kea have been known to shred the blades of the chopper and people had been temporarily stranded up in the fiords.


Wow, TIL that there exists a parrot that eats sheep. That's as impressive as a wolverine fighting a bear.


I read that and it still sounds unbelievable, that sheep get attacked by a parrot.

But yeah, live sheep are at risk of getting bit and clawed at by a smart parrot whose diet includes carrion. Turns out chupacabra lives in New Zealand.


Kea are opportunists of the first degree - you don't get to be the only alpine parrot without being smart enough to exploit every opportunity available to you.




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