NZSki and the Kea Conservation Fund are partnering to bring kea back to the 3 Peaks ski slopes, committing $250,000 over the next five years to ensure protection of New Zealand’s native birds in the regions the company operates.
NZSki currently operates environmental programmes at the Remarkables and Coronet Peak ski fields, as well as Mt Hutt, but NZSki CEO Paul Anderson says this is an important step to continuing their long-term conservation efforts.
“We’re immensely proud to announce this partnership with Kea Conservation Trust to protect our kea,” Mr Anderson says.
"This is a great way of directing all our efforts into a single focus which is keeping our precious native birds here, and helping sustain their habitat for future generations – theirs and ours!”
Queenstown-based Kea Conservation Trust Chair Tamsin Orr-Walker says that with only a few thousand birds remaining, NZSki’s support provides a massive boost to kea around the Wakatipu and Mt Hutt areas.
“Kea numbers have declined dramatically over recent years and this long-term commitment to protect these remnant populations is vital if this trend is to be reversed.
“Working with NZSki, the Kea Conservation Trust will be able to research the status of our local kea and support those remaining birds by removing local threats – particularly predators and poisoning by lead – and by educating young kiwis and visitors to our slopes as to how communities can support their iconic mountain parrots, South Island wide.”
Field researcher Tom Goodman will be working at the Remarkables during Conservation Week to attempt to catch the remaining kea, test them for lead poisoning and rehabilitate if necessary, tag and track the birds to find their nesting site. This will make it easier to protect individual kea, and/or breeding partners, while also pinpointing exact locations to protect from predators.
Over summer, tens of thousands of dollars will also go toward setting and maintaining trapping lines at the Remarkables, Coronet Peak and Mt Hutt to protect from predators such as stoats or possums. This will benefit all birdlife in the area.
Find out more about the NZSki and Kea Conservation Trust partnership to bring back the kea here.