Attempts to capture Haast kea flock after lead poisoning find

By Laura Mills of the Greymouth Star -
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The juvenile kea is now doing well after treatment for moderate levels of lead. Photo / Orla Fitzpatrick
The juvenile kea is now doing well after treatment for moderate levels of lead. Photo / Orla Fitzpatrick

Attempts are being made to capture a flock of kea that has been causing havoc at Haast, after one was found to be suffering from lead poisoning.

The juvenile bird is now doing well but efforts are under way to catch others, which have skipped town for now.

It is not clear where the kea have found the lead, but lead nails and flashings - and possibly whitebait huts - are probably to blame.

Kea Conservation Trust chairwoman Tamsin Orr-Walker said someone spotted a kea acting strangely. It was caught, did well after receiving food and fluids, and was then released.

When the test results came back showing lead poisoning, and after discussion with the Department of Conservation, it was decided to try to catch all the kea around Haast for testing.

Four more were captured, including a juvenile with moderate levels of lead.

She said there was talk in Haast of raising funds to investigate where the lead was coming from.

The Haast kea made headlines a week ago when it was revealed they had damaged vehicles and property - particularly garden equipment and roof lines - and even the police vehicle, resulting in an expensive trip to the electrician.

- Greymouth Star

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