Controversy has struck the Kea camp after shocking footage of two birds destroying human vehicles emerged online.
Two videos show several Kea vandalising vehicles, including a police truck.
One witness, a human tourist from Europe, said the Kea were attempting to dismantle his rental car by biting onto rubber seals, roof rails and the radio antennae.
“I can’t believe they would just attack us in broad daylight like that!” said Hans Crowe.
“People don’t come to New Zealand to see animals in the wild, so to see a gang of them behaving like this has been quite off-putting. I can’t help but wonder whether tourists would even come to New Zealand if they knew you had wildlife just roaming about freely.”
In a second video from 2011, a gang of Kea are seen nibbling on a police truck.
A spokes-human for Canterbury District Police said they would not be pressing charges given how endangered the birds are.
“It’s deeply disappointing to see a video like this. We’re well aware of the impact that humans have had on Kea. We understand the birds are angry about being endangered, but we are still disheartened to see this guerrilla activism shown,” said Kate Plumage.
Kōtare, meanwhile, has gone on the offensive, saying it is appalled by the footage. It reiterated that it wanted to “officially distance ourselves from any illegal Kea activity”.
“We believe the root problem lies in Kea having access to too much sugary food. Humans are feeding Kea and that’s not good enough. It doesn’t help them, and only leads to more restlessness and gang activity.”
Kōtare’s campaign for Bird of the Year includes a promise to replace all human food with “teenie crabs, smol fish and delish crunchy insects.” BNN has reached out to Kea for comment.
Dan is a Political Reporter for BNN. When he’s not keeping up to date on important events in the avian world, he likes to snowbird on Mt Ruapehu. He graduated from the University of Squawkland with a major in Political Ornithology. His book, Flight: A Privilege, explores the politics around some birds having the ability to fly, and the conflicts this has caused in avian society.
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