Monday, July 15, 2024

UC study finds tourists pose a threat to kea 

A new University of Canterbury study has found that tourists’ irresponsible behaviour around kea poses a potential threat to the species’ survival.

Dr Richard Aquino and Professor Girish Prayag from Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha | University of Canterbury (UC) Business School say tourists are often unable to resist the temptation to feed kea despite awareness that they shouldn’t.

With tourist locations located in proximity to kea populations, there’s more likelihood of kea being exposed to human food through stealing, soliciting and scavenging food, the researchers say.

They say this behaviour puts kea at an increased risk of involuntary poisoning from toxins meant for their predators.

The findings are set to help inform social marketing campaigns to encourage responsible visitor behaviour and support the protection of native birds, in conjunction with the Department of Conservation.

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