Press Release: Wellington Zoo
5 February 2015
Kea thriving at Wellington Zoo
200 years ago, Kea, the world’s only alpine parrot and endemic to New Zealand, numbered in the hundreds of thousands. But from the late 1800s high-country sheep farmers saw them as a threat to their flocks, and a bounty was placed on their heads and a price tag on their beaks. Due to ongoing persecution and threats from introduced predators, their wild population is now vulnerable, and their conservation status was updated to ‘nationally endangered’ in 2013, with only an estimated few thousand birds remaining today.
Most city-dwelling New Zealanders have never encountered a Kea up close. But lovers of these fascinating native birds can still get up close to Kea on the other side of the Cook Strait – by paying a visit to the family that reside at Wellington Zoo.
“We care for five Kea at Wellington Zoo – a pair of adults and three healthy young chicks, hatched in November last year. The chicks have been staying in their nest box, closely guarded by their mother. Now that they’ve fledged, they’ve started to venture out and visitors can see them,” said Philip Wisker, Wellington Zoo Bird Keeper.