DECLINE IN KEA NUMBERS

Source Author Year Title Quote
Otago Daily Times Online News 13/10/14 Matthew Haggert 2014 Health of kea studied “A drop in kea population numbers has left Doc Wanaka biodiversity manager Stu Thorne “slightly” concerned…There had been no aerial drops of 1080 in their habitat around Wanaka, he said. Seven kea were given blood tests during the recent monitoring programme and the results all indicated “low to very low” levels of lead. Mr Thorne ruled out contact with people visiting the skifield as a possible cause of a decline in kea numbers. “There’s probably not any one single cause contributing to a decline, but I do think a growth in predator numbers could be significant. The presence of stoats in the alpine areas and “vulnerable” kea nesting habitats could be having an effect, he said”
Tbfree New Zealand Ltd AEE TBFree 2014 Assessment of Environmental Effects for Possum Control in the Barton Arthur Area May 2014 “Nationally threatened bird species recorded in or near the operational area are kaka, kea, and New Zealand falcon…These threatened species are potentially at risk from the operation considering the risk that the number of non-target deaths might push the total numbers into a decline from which recovery is difficult…The possible impacts of this operation on the kea population are considered to be negligible compared to the potential benefits accruing from the reduction in rat, stoat and possum predation.”
Marlborough Lloyd Hanson 2014 Kea disappearance “I know of two kea colonies here in Marlborough that have completely disappeared since DoC and AHB used 1080 in both areas. They have been there for thousands of years yet suddenly disappeared….The first area is Lake Alexander…The other area is Mt Patriarch…they disappeared after the DoC/AHB drops over the last 5-7 years!”
New Zealand Birds online – The digital encyclopaedia of New Zealand Birds Anon. 2014 Kea “With current data, any population estimate is little more than a guess. Density in the upland beech forest of Nelson Lakes National Park in 2011 was approximately one adult female kea per 2,750 hectares, down from about one per 550 ha in 1998.”
DoC 07/05/2014 DoC 2014 DOC code of practice for aerial 1080 in kea habitat “Kea were re-classed from ‘Not threatened’ to “Nationally endangered” by Robertson et al. (2012); the criteria for this classification are a population estimate of 1000-5000 and an ongoing or predicted decline of 50-70% in the total population over the next 10 years due to recruitment failure. In order to prevent this failure, effective predator control is critical.”
DoC 07/05/2014 DoC 2014 DOC code of practice for aerial 1080 in kea habitat “By designing operations to control stoats, we can reverse the decline of kea at managed sites”
Academia 2014 Lorne Roberts 2014 Population estimates of wild Kea (Nestor notabilis) “Although 1080 has been used in New Zealand since the 1950’s…and identified as a hazard to kea since 1964…monitoring of kea exposed to 1080 operations was only initiated in 2008.”
Academia 2014 Lorne Roberts 2014 Population estimates of wild Kea (Nestor notabilis) “…severe degradation of this environment from past agricultural practices and introduced browsing and predator species…continues to have an unknown impact on kea food availability”
Otago Daily Times Online News 10/02/14 Mark Price 2014 Kea-resistance on pellets “Mr Kemp said kea numbers were “going downhill” in areas where there was no predator control”
Otago Daily Times Online News 06/04/14 Rebecca Fox 2014 Research aids kea conservation “…allowing conservation managers to move birds between populations as part of any conservation attempts to reverse the kea’s decline.”…Department of Conservation technical adviser Bruce McKinlay said the struggle to find the right population to manage would be easier thanks to this research”
Otago Daily Times Online News 06/04/14 Rebecca Fox 2014 Research aids kea conservation “Nationally endangered, keas have a population of fewer than 5000 that is in decline due to predation by pests such as rats, mice and stoats.”
Otago Daily Times Online News 15/11/13 Otago Daily Times Online News 15/11/13 2013 Kea joins list of threatened birds “The notoriously cheeky kea, considered the only truly alpine parrot in the world, also made a debut on the threatened list, as did the flesh-footed shearwater, New Zealand storm pretrel and lesser knot.”
Kea Conservation Trust updates 16/12/13 Kea Conservation Trust 2013 Kea Conservation Trust (KCT) Update “Kea joins list of threatened birds 15/11/13. The kea is now considered a threatened species. Several of New Zealand’s most cherished birds – among them the kea and two types of albatross – have been shifted to a more serious conservation status following a national survey.”
NZ J Ecology 22: 141-148 C. Reid et al. 2012 Anthropogenic lead (Pb) exposure in populations of a wild parrot (kea Nestor notabilis) “The kea is a long-lived, slow-reproducing species at a high risk of decline from even a small reduction in its survival rate.”
Kea Conservation Trust Updates Dec 2012 T. Orr-Walker 2012 Decline of kea threatens alpine plants “As well as illegal hunting and pet trade activities, predation, competition for resources with introduced mammals and humans, lead poisoning and habitat degradation have led to the decline in the kea population, Dr Nelson said.”
Kea Conservation Trust Updates Dec 2012 T. Orr-Walker 2012 Decline of kea threatens alpine plants “The decline of the kea, the world’s only alpine parrot species, could spell the end of 12 per cent of New Zealand’ alpine plants, researchers say”
Kea Conservation Trust Updates Dec 2012 T. Orr-Walker 2012 Kea in the news “the population in the Nelson Lakes National Park area has plummeted 80 per cent over the last 10 years.”
Nestor Notabilis 6 Adrian Currie 2012 Kea cognition – a remarkable case of convergence with primates “…it is a tragedy, travesty and crime for any species to be annihilated due to human greed, ignorance or indifference. Kea play an integrated part in an alpine ecosystem”
Nestor Notabilis 6 Martin Curtis 2012 Making the Matukitki lead free “…let the general public know that we have a real problem with the number of keas left in the wild- a fact that most people are unaware of as these keas that are out there always seem to be in your face so to speak.”
Nestor Notabilis 6 Martin Curtis 2012 Making the Matukitki lead free “They are an integral part of the mountain scene here, and I have definitely noticed a considerable lack of sightings in the last ten years”
Nestor Notabilis 6 T. Orr-Walker 2012 Nest Monitoring – Arthurs Pass “At the start of the 2011 season there were twenty-one kea radio tagged in the Hawdon valley, Arthurs Pass, to be monitored. Six transmitters were found to be in mortality mode (4 of which were adult breeding females). The loss of these birds significantly reduces the possible sample size of nests to monitor. Additionally, nine transmittered birds remained unaccounted for resulting in only six kea able to be followed. Three of these kea are adult females of which only one has been identified as attempting to breed (Queen Pow Pow). The other two females showed no indication of having active cavities or notable courtship or nesting behaviour. Nest cameras set up at the Queen Pow Pow’s nest showed that this nest was abandoned with an egg intact and this pair moved to another nest site which also did not produce chicks. Information gleaned from this nesting season appears to indicate that the high number of deaths of both adult and sub-adult birds may now be affecting productivity. A case in point is the late 2010 nesting by Mrs Moon (one chick fledged at the end of April 2011). Mrs Moon died one month later on 8 June 2011.
Nestor Notabilis 6 T. Orr-Walker 2012 Winter Advocacy Tour “The West Coast has historically been a kea trouble spot with populations of kea heavily persecuted by locals or poisoned during 1080 aerial operations.”
Nestor Notabilis 6 T. Orr-Walker 2012 2011- The highs and lows in brief January-February “The 2011 Kea Summer Survey field work was completed by an enthusiastic team of 40 experienced kea handlers, and volunteers at three study sites this January. Results of the three-year study show a significant decline in the Nelson lakes population since the 1990s.”
Kea Conservation Trust Updates Feb 2011 Kea Conservation Trust 2011 Kea Sightings – Fewer kea also at Coronet Peak and the Remarkables? “Our last monthly update highlighted possible reduced number of kea at Treble Cone skifield…and a similar story seems to be at the other Central Otago skifields from Graeme Glass who is also concerned at the apparent reduction in numbers of kea…”I did however spend many days up at Coronet Peak and the Remarkables and saw very few kea. Last year most days I would see 4 or 5 kea in the Sarah Sue trail area at Coronet and in the summer months the same sort of numbers over in the top of Coronet Peak on any given day. This year I heard one kea early in the season and saw none. At the Remarkables a similar story, several kea last year and none this year. Bit of a sorry state of affairs.””
Kea Conservation Trust Updates Feb 2011 Kea Conservation Trust 2011 Summer Survey- Preliminary results “Preliminary results from the Nelson Lakes area suggest a significant decline has occurred in this population since the 1990’s. A total of 2 fledglings has been sighted each year over an area of 14,000Ha – a significant decrease from 11 fledglings recorded annually in half the area in the ’90’s.”
Otago Daily Times Online News 07/05/09 Otago Daily Times Online News 07/05/09 2009 Help needed in kea count “…there is evidence there are as few as 1000-5000 keas left in the wild”
Otago Daily Times Online News 07/05/09 Otago Daily Times Online News 07/05/09 2009 Help needed in kea count “The Trust’s Chairwoman, Tasmin Orr-Walker, said the birds were quite high on the New Zealand endangered species list, but they were seen as a low priority”
Otago Daily Times Online News 13/10/14 Matthew Haggert 2008 Health of kea studied “Aerial 1080 drops in South Westland and other regions have been blamed for a decline in kea numbers. Seven kea died after ingesting 1080 around the Fox and Franz Josef areas, last year.”
NZ Dept of Conservation Internal Science Series 181 Graeme Elliot & Josh Kemp 2004 Effect of hunting and predation on kea, and a method of monitoring kea populations “The kea population on the St Arnaud Range appeared to be quite stable during our study, but our confidence in this prediction is not great. We can only say we are 50% confident it is not declining…”
NZ Dept of Conservation Internal Science Series 181 Graeme Elliot & Josh Kemp 2004 Effect of hunting and predation on kea, and a method of monitoring kea populations “Given the birds’ relatively high extinction risk, continued killing of kea is unjustifiable”
WWF-NZ Final Report 1 August 1999 64pp G. Elliot & J. Kemp 1999 Conservation ecology of kea (Nestor notabilis) “This study is designed to assess the likelihood that nest predators are causing an ongoing decline in kea abundance”
WWF-NZ Final Report 1 August 1999 64pp G. Elliot & J. Kemp 1999 Conservation ecology of kea (Nestor notabilis) “Kea nests appear to be relatively immune to predation from introduced mammals…Our results agree with a previous study of kea nesting at Arthur’s Pass, where no evidence of significant nest predation was found (Jackson 1963).”
Notornis 16: 33-44 J R Jackson 1969 What do keas die of? “The bad Season – October 1957-May 1958…in each month the rainfall was greatly above average, especially from October to March, probably the significant months for the Kea…December was the worst month…There were frequent storms…This period caused a great reduction in the Kea population. Perhaps it was reduced to two thirds normal…Chicks were found dead in their nests, eating of eggs was first noticed, and many parent Keas disappeared. Usual foods failed. That summer there was little nectar, and the following winter few berries. Starvation was the immediate cause of death of many Keas that summer”.
Notornis 16: 33-44 J R Jackson 1969 What do keas die of? “These tables show the large loss of Keas in their first year, especially soon after banding. Some of these Keas were inexperienced, recently fledged Keas. Others were banded and died in the spring when there is a large moving population, spurred by hunger”
Notornis IX: 39-58 J R Jackson 1960 Keas at Arthurs Pass “Certainly the results show that in a good year between 100 and 200 Keas can be seen at Arthurs Pass and Temple Basin, and further that the density of Keas is between one and eight per square mile.”