Experts Develop Roadside Gym for Endangered Kea
Conservationists want to stop New Zealand’s kea – dubbed the world’s smartest parrot – from wandering onto roads and begging humans for food, so they have designed a special gym for the country’s playful alpine bird to keep them away from some of the nation’s most dangerous roads.
For the last couple of years contractors working on the road to Milford Sound in the South Island have captured footage of kea moving their road cones and equipment into the middle of the road when the workers knocked off overnight.
The kea are the planet’s only alpine parrot and have a high IQ, novelty-seeking nature and notorious mischievous streak.
Kea Conservation Trust chair Tamsin Orr-Walker said the birds were probably moving the road cones for fun, but didn’t discount the theory that the clever parrots strategically moved the cones into the path of oncoming vehicles, forcing the cars to slow down and allowing the parrots to beg for food.
Concerned for the bird’s safety, keas are endangered in New Zealand and were last year voted the country’s favourite bird, a team of kea experts have created a roadside exercise gym for the curious birds, designed to keep them intellectually engaged and away from road cones and traffic.
The gym features ladders, spinning flotation devices, swings and climbing frames, and is already proving popular.
Original article by Eleanor Ainge Roy, The Guardian, January 11, 2018.
Photo by Andrius Pašukonis.