Kea (Nestor notabilis) are the only mountain parrot species in the world and are listed as Nationally Endangered, numbering fewer than 5,000 individuals in the wild. Threats include introduced mammalian predators, lead poisoning, and accidents with human objects (e.g. cars, electricity sub-stations).

The Kea Conservation Trust (KCT) was set up in 2006 to assist in conservation of wild kea in their natural habitat and to promote the advocacy potential of kea held in zoos in New Zealand. 

Auckland Zoo Conservation Fund supports KCT work in the Matukituki Valley which is considered an important site for kea research.  Since 2016, kea have been banded (a metal or plastic band around a bird's leg to identify individuals) and fitted with radio-transmitters in order to locate nests and generate baseline data on reproductive success and population trends. The Community Kea Survey and Monitoring project aims to identify threats to kea in the valley, and work with the local conservation community to reduce these threats by: 

  1. Nest monitoring to ascertain fledging success and predator interference 
  2. Summer catch-trips to increase the banded and studied cohort 
  3. Track survivorship throughout the year  
  4. Extend the predator camera-trap network and work with local trapping groups to target pest hotspots as required. 

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Conserving Kea in Matukituki Valley

Bird keeper Jasmine ventured to Matukituki Valley in Mt Aspiring National Park to assist our partners Kea Conservation Trust with vital conservation fieldwork. The knowledge our bird keepers have in handling intelligent parrots like kea safely and reliably is extremely valuable for conservation work like this, and Jasmine was able to assist the Trust's rangers with banding and fitting transmitters to wild kea.