Kea are found throughout the alpine parts of the South Island, including popular spots like like Franz Josef, Aoraki Mt Cook National Park and Fiordland National Park. Therefore it's highly likely that you'll see this bird when you join us on any of our South Island trips. Our Tui, Manuka, Kea and Weka trips all go through Arthur's Pass specifically, so they offer a great opportunity to see kea in their natural habitat and to learn about them through the conservation project.
Kea are not found in the North Island, although fossil evidence suggests a population lived there over 10,000 years ago. To survive in the harsh alpine environment of the South Island, kea have become inquisitive and nomadic social birds - characteristics which help them to find and utilise new food sources. Being so inquisitive and social, is also part of what makes them so attractive, as it's easy to see them up close and witness their quirky behaviour.
The Kea's inquisitive behaviour, and readiness to interact with humans, unfortunately has caused the species to become critically endangered. In certain areas kea have become reliant on food scraps from humans and do not hunt for themselves, or they hang out by roadsides and can be injured or killed by passing cars. The Kea Conservation Trust is an organisation committed to conserving the Kea population and educating the public, both locals and toursits, as to how they can best interact with these incredible birds. At Active Adventures we're proud to be a major sponsor of the KCT's kea project in Arthur's Pass National Park. We're lucky enough to have been allowed to name our very own kea as part of the project, and after a poll on social media, the name 'Tuhura' was chosen (pronounced 'tah-hoo-ra' and meaning explore). Tuhura is often spotted hanging out in the car parks of Arthur's Pass National Park, and you can keep up with where he's been by checking on his reported sightings here. Below is a picture of the troublesome character!
Learn about the work Active Adventures are doing with the Arthur's Pass Kea Project.
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