New Zealand’s native (endemic) Mountain Parrot, the Kea (Nestor Notabilis). Their name is derived from their call: a high pitched “Kee-aa” sound). They are beautiful, intelligent birds, although their inquisitiveness often gets them in trouble with human visitors to the mountains. They rip the rubber off skiers cars, they steal hikers gear and damage tents, they have been known to eat the fat from around sheep kidneys, they like to pillage rubbish bins and skips with discarded food in them. For this behaviour, especially their involvement with sheep, they have been very harshly treated. There was a bounty on their heads until 1970, and it wasn’t until 1986 that they became fully protected. The lead used on tin roofs has poisoned them, many have been shot in retaliation because they dared to damage someone’s property (e.g in the late 1990s, a Fox Glacier resident killed 33 Kea in the glacier car park because his sons bicycle seat had been damaged by kea.)

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