Monday, January 03, 2005

Protected species at war

I sometimes think of Kea as our other national animal - their cheekiness, their cunning, their ingenuity, perseverance and tenacity (though it must be said that all of these admirable traits really only apply to destroying things - like cars). It's unfortunate then that in the South Island they seem to be making a play to exterminate our official national animal, the Kiwi.

It's all DoC's fault, of course. They monitor Kiwi breeding by sticking hatches in the top of kiwi burrows, so they can open them up and have a quick look. Unfortunately they're not the only things that can open hatches - even when they're weighted down with bloody great rocks. Not that they have any evidence that its Kea, of course, just suspicion, which has led to some paranoia on the part of DoC workers:

"Staff are taking quite extreme measures to make sure there are no kea about when they do monitoring, including bypassing a burrow and going on to the next one if kea are about."

There's also this comment:

"You can bet if [Kea are] in lowland forest, they're up to no good."

Of course they're up to no good! They're Kea!

I'm sorry, but it's difficult not to see the funny side here...