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We're coming for about 4 months of summer tramping, and I've got some kea questions: 1) If we're taking a day hike from "base camp", do I need to strike the tent completely in order to avoid daytime invasion & destruction? Or just flatten the tent? Or is this not a problem at all? 2) We'll be taking a lot of day hikes from the main trail to see this or that feature...if we leave our packs (or maybe a black plastic garbage bag filled with stuff) by the side of the trail for an hour or two, will the keas find them & rip 'em to shreds? Thanks for any advice...
Keas are now sadly an endangered species. I doubt they will cause you much problems. There are stories about Keas from the past. These were when there were more of them around and also people used to feed them. Feeding keas is discouraged now so they are less encouraged by human activity. I have noticed a lot less keas around since I first started tramping in the 1970s. I had a pair of boots shredded by keas once in 1971 when I left them outside a popular hut. But apart from the occasional tent guy being attacked, have never had problems when camping in the back country.
pmcke are you in the north island?? or have the keas around arthurs pass vanished in the couple of years since I was last there? (maybe south islanders are not so good at not feeding them???) They are more of a problem to your car than to tents and packs etc. I have never had them trouble my tramping gear.
There were definitely still Kea's in Arthur Pass, both in the township and at Goat Pass Hut, when I was there a couple of weeks back.
it is not a good idea to leave gear lying around as kea are very cheeky and destructive! Depends where you will be, above the bushline definitely not a good idea.
I was talking about in Otago. In the 1970s we used to see keas a lot. Usually one or two would come and visit your camp site. I had them chew on a tent guy once or twice but not much more. In the past couple of trips I have had down there I have noticed the lack of keas and if you do see them they seem to be at a distance and don't come down to visit like they used to. Around areas where there are people and tourists there have always been a lot of keas and they can be quite agressive too. I put this down to people feeding them, which is now discouraged. We used to feed the keas finger fulls of butter. It drives them berserk, it is like they get drunk on the stuff It is a fact though, Keas are in decline.
Well, we'll look forward to meeting as many keas as possible; they sound like a lot of fun to watch. I hope their "decline" simply involves staying away from people more -- in which case good for them!
Help needed in kea count see the ODT http://www.odt.co.nz/the-regions/otago/54510/help-needed-kea-count
On my recent Routeburn,Caples and Greenstone tramps I did not encounter one Kea where have they all gone
One of the problems with Kea, and Kaka as well, is that they are noisy birds and they cover a wide territory. When you see a kea you think that all is OK. The problem is that it may be the only kea in the valley. The fact that they are visible doesn't mean they are not endangered. Where have all the kea gone? The eggs make good food for stoats, weasels, ferrits, rats and other predators. Simple! If they can't breed safely then there won't be any keas.
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