Kea recovery plan welcome, but more funding needed to save species

Forest & Bird is welcoming a proposal from the Department of Conservation to develop a recovery plan for kea, but warns it will fail without new money for conservation.

"With only 20 percent of kea range currently getting the benefits of landscape scale predator control, the government will need to scale up its efforts to protect kea," says Forest & Bird spokesperson Geoff Keey.

The Department of Conservation (DOC) proposed a kea recovery plan at a Kea Konvention hosted by the Kea Conservation Trust, the Arthur’s Pass Wildlife Trust and DOC, held in the mountain village of Arthur’s Pass this weekend.  

“Forest & Bird welcomes DOC and its Treaty partner Ngai Tahu working together to protect kea, which we acknowledge is an important taonga species for Ngai Tahu,” says My Keey. “We look forward to working with DOC, Ngai Tahu, the Kea Conservation Trust and other groups who are passionate about ensuring the survival of kea.

Information presented at the Kea Konvention showed that kea are under attack from predators including stoats and feral cats. Breeding success for kea is around five percent in stoat plagues but increases to 80 percent with landscape scale predator control.

“The results of kea monitoring in Kahurangi National Park shows that landscape scale predator control has allowed the kea population to bounce back,” says Mr Keey.

"As well as more government funding to protect kea from predators, funding is also needed to make DOC huts, high country properties and alpine villages lead free. Lead on buildings is killing kea."

"Kea are the world's only alpine parrot, the world's smartest bird and an icon of the Southern Alps. Yet they are heading for extinction, and that would be a tragedy."

"The decline of kea is a reflection of a nature crisis in New Zealand that has resulted in nearly 1000 threatened species and another 2700 at risk of joining them," says Mr Keey.