Visitors to New Zealand beware! Vicious gangs roam the mountainous regions of the South Island, defacing property and preying on unwary tourists. They are often seen hanging around in car parks, kicking empty cans, waiting for the opportunity to vandalise unattended vehicles. Given the chance, they’ll not only steal your lunch, but your lunch money too. They’ll knock over your drinks, ransack your backpacks, drop your camera from a height for the pleasure of seeing it break… and they’ll get away with it because they’re endangered birds.

Take a look at their rap sheet:

Kea Facts



That’s right. They’re sheep killers.

Kea are scavengers. They know how to raid rubbish bins – even if those bins are weighted down – and how to get bait from traps without setting the traps off. They show a greater intelligence than the average rugby player. With the sheep, they probably thought to themselves, ‘These are stupid animals. What’s the point of waiting for them to die? We can just swoop down and take a bite while they’re still alive. It’d be fresher, at least.’ And that’s just what they did.

Treating sheep like they’re living buffets makes kea sound like monsters, but they’re actually rather cute. When they’re “begging” you for a bite of your apple, that is, not when they’re snapping the windscreen wipers off your rental car.

A kea in the wild

Would I do a thing like that?

What they really like to do is peel the rubber from around car windows. Once, some tourists returned to their vehicle to find that the windscreen had come out of its frame, allowing a posse of kea to hop inside and have a party. They were having a whale of a time, playing football with random objects and pecking foam out of the seats.

They’re just thugs. Check out this article from 2013: Kea steals tourist’s wallet. Notice how the tourist doesn’t seem too sad about it, though.

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Thug? Me?

If any creature get away with murder, it’s the kea.

Gotta love ’em. As tempting as it might be, however, don’t feed them. This includes “accidentally” turning your back on your sandwich. Human food is bad for them, and feeding them only encourages their destructive behaviour.

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Ignore the sign. Feed me, tourist. Or I’ll take your muffin anyway!

 

Article by Abigail Simpson, author POMS AWAY! A British Immigrant’s View of New Zealand