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The Kea Parrot

    Naturevolume 131pages463464 (1933) | Download Citation



    WHETHER or not we may be able to boast ‘homebred’ keas depends on an experiment about to be made at the Gardens of the Zoological Society of London. An artificial cave is to be made in the parrot-house to induce, if possible, a pair of these birds to breed, and it may well be successful. The kea parrot of New Zealand was years ago to be found in large numbers. Then, unfortunately, it took to attacking sheep, tearing holes in the back to get at the flesh, with fatal results to the sheep. It was said to do this for the sake of getting at the fat covering the kidneys, but this, obviously, is a statement founded on insufficient knowledge of what this implies. The damage done, as evidence has shown, was grossly exaggerated, and, when inflicted, was due to hunger. It was shown that keas could, and did, exist in numbers, without doing damage in areas where the food supply was constant, although in and around sheep-farms. But be this as it may, the fear and dislike which its presence has engendered, threatens its existence. Hence it is to be hoped the experiment of the Zoological Society will be successful.

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