$90,000 for kea conservation

  • Nick Smith

The Government is providing $90,000 from the Community Conservation Partnership Fund to support the Kea Conservation Trust, Conservation Minister Dr Nick Smith announced today.

“The kea is the only alpine parrot in the world and a species endemic to our Southern Alps. The population of these inquisitive and nomadic birds is declining and it is estimated that fewer than 5000 remain. The tragedy of the kea is that over 150,000 birds were killed deliberately when there was a bounty on them for the perceived damage they caused to sheep. More recently, the biggest threat to kea survival is from pests – principally rats, stoats and possums,” Dr Smith says.

“The Government’s financial support will enable the Kea Conservation Trust to continue its work to ensure this endangered iconic species will continue to be enjoyed by future generations. The funding announced today will go towards boosting kea conservation efforts and see the Trust working in partnership with the Department of Conservation to play a bigger role in coordinating kea research and management.

“It will also help to put in place a plan to reduce conflict between humans and the birds. Changes in land use and more human activity in the high country mean that kea are coming into contact with more people and property. In a few isolated areas, kea are seen as a nuisance because of their curiosity, intelligence and determination to interact with human objects such as vehicles, rubbish bins and solar panels.  The funding will go towards developing a plan to proactively respond to such conflicts, to prevent property damage and educate the public, so that the kea becomes a more welcomed member of our communities.

“It is expected that the coordinated strategic approach to managing our kea will produce positive results in the next 10 years.”

The Community Conservation Partnership Fund was announced in March this year and provides $26 million over the next four years to community organisations undertaking natural heritage and recreation projects. The Fund will support hundreds of projects on public and private land and is particularly focused on supporting efforts to protect biodiversity, natural habitats and native species.

“I commend the work of the Kea Conservation Trust, which has been working together with the Department, volunteer groups and business to assist in the conservation of kea in their natural habitat. It is vital that we foster community support in our kea conservation efforts. This type of collaborative approach reflects the spirit of the Community Conservation Partnership Fund, which seeks to encourage greater community involvement in conservation,” Dr Smith concluded.