Curiosity will not kill the kea after traps get parrot excluders

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

Newly-designed 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 self-setting 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."

sean.nugent@odt.co.nz

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