Cu­rios­ity will not kill the kea af­ter traps get par­rot ex­clud­ers

Otago Daily Times - - REGIONS - SEAN NUGENT sean.nugent@odt.co.nz

KEA in the South Is­land will no longer be in dan­ger from their own cu­ri­ousity.

Newly­de­signed par­rot ex­clud­ers are to be in­stalled in com­ing months on at least 3000 Good­na­ture A24 preda­tor traps through­out Fiord­land Na­tional Park, Haast Kiwi Sanc­tu­ary and Arthurs Pass Na­tional Park.

The traps, de­signed by Welling­ton com­pany Good­na­ture, are self­set­ting au­to­matic traps. Each can re­set it­self 24 times be­fore need­ing to be re­plen­ished.

The par­rot ex­clud­ers come af­ter video and photo ev­i­dence in July 2017 showed a kea stick­ing its head into an un­set trap, which caused the De­part­ment of Con­ser­va­tion (Doc) to re­move many of the traps from kea habi­tats un­til a so­lu­tion was found.

Doc’s di­rec­tor threats, Am­ber Bill, said Doc was ‘‘con­fi­dent’’ the ex­clud­ers would pre­vent any keas from be­ing harmed by the traps.

Doc will ini­tially be buy­ing 5000 par­rot ex­clud­ers to cover all the A24 traps now or po­ten­tially in use by Doc and com­mu­nity groups at an ap­prox­i­mate cost of $50,000.

‘‘The ex­clud­ers can be eas­ily clipped on to traps and will be avail­able next month. We will get them out on our traps as soon as we can af­ter that.’’

Good­na­ture co­founder and de­sign di­rec­tor Rob­bie van Dam said the kea cre­ated a great de­sign chal­lenge.

‘‘Kea are such an amaz­ing bird: in­quis­i­tive, mis­chievous and in­cred­i­bly in­tel­li­gent. Any kea death is one too many so we wanted to lead the charge and cre­ate an ex­cluder so they have ad­di­tional pro­tec­tion.

‘‘Kea need all the help we as a con­ser­va­tion com­mu­nity can pro­vide. With the ex­cluder in place we will be in a po­si­tion to keep on top of stoats and hope­fully help kea have sig­nif­i­cant breed­ing suc­cess this sea­son.’’

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