An investigation is underway following allegations of kea being shot at a forestry site in Nelson.
In a statement the Department of Conservation said it had received reports a group of kea were allegedly shot at a forestry site in the Golden Downs area in Nelson. "We are investigating the allegation and no further details can be provided at this time as our investigation is still underway. Any allegation of harm to kea is taken very seriously," DOC said.
Kea are classified as nationally endangered and numbers are in decline. Their numbers are estimated to be fewer than 5000. Chair of the Kea Conservation Trust Tamsin Orr-Walker said the trust was not sure as to exactly what was going on, given the fact an investigation was underway.
"At this stage the only thing that we know is there have been allegations, not that they have been substantiated yet.
"Obviously if they turn out to be true we would be enormously disappointed. We've been working with this particular forestry company for the last year and they've been incredibly proactive and positive about their local kea population, so having an individual do something like this is incredibly disappointing."
Forestry in kea habitats could present an issue, Ms Orr-Walker said.
"We have had a number of reports from forestry areas of kea causing damage... but we've had a really positive response from the forestry companies overall in that they're keen to obviously co-exist in the area, and do what they can in terms of kea proofing.
"It's quite unexpected that something like this will happen.
"Kea are well-known for their mischievous and inquisitive nature, and are known to destroy objects.
To prevent kea from destroying equipment, forestry workers should make sure it was covered in such a way that kea could not access it, Ms Orr-Walker said.
"They're attracted to interacting with anything that's soft and rubbery or can easily be manipulated.
"If people put plastic hosing or some sort of heavy gage... around things like wiring etc then that obviously prevents a lot of damage."