Introduction

A Christchurch School and student will take action to help conserve kea to make amends for actions that led to the death of a bird at Porter Heights Ski Area last week.

Date:  24 July 2012

A Christchurch School and student will take action to help conserve kea to make amends for actions that led to the death of a bird at Porter Heights Ski Area last week.

Both the Department of Conservation and the school are keen to turn this unfortunate incident into a positive learning experience for all the students, said DOC Arthur’s Pass Field Centre Supervisor Chris Stewart.

“The student and school have expressed their deep regret for the death of the kea and have offered to contribute to conservation projects and kea recovery.”

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Kea. Photo: John Gibson.

At a meeting with Department of Conservation staff in Christchurch today, the boy handed over the dead bird and apologised for his actions. 

Chisnallwood Intermediate School has pledged to initiate a whole-of-school project on kea as part of a conservation education programme, as well as investigate assembling the wooden parts of stoat traps as part of their science and technology classes.

Predators such as stoats and possums pose a key threat to kea, which nest in holes in the ground.  The stoat traps will assist with predator control work being undertaken by DOC at Arthur’s Pass.

The student will give a presentation on kea to the school, as well as assisting local DOC staff with a project during Conservation Week in September.

Stewart said that the Department did not intend to take the matter any further.

“We are comfortable that everyone involved has learnt a valuable lesson.”

“Kea are New Zealand’s only alpine parrot and they are endangered.  They need all of our help to give them the best chance of survival.”

“Treat them with respect and don’t feed them.”

Background information

Kea are endangered with a wild population estimated at between 1000 and 5000 birds. 

Key threats to this endemic parrot are human development in the alpine zone and predators such as stoats and possums, which prey on kea nests and eat the eggs and young.  

Rated at one of the world’s most intelligent birds, they are only found in the Southern Alps of the South Island.

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Contact

Chris Stewart, Arthur’s Pass Field Centre Supervisor: +64 27 272 9788

Fiona Oliphant, Media Advisor: +64 27 470 1378

See also:

Kea

Kea Conservation Trust website

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