The cheeky kea, a type of parrot native to New Zealand, is under “severe stress,” according to conservationists.
The bird was determined to be the smartest in the world by the Institute of Cognitive Biology in Vienna, even concluding that its intelligence rivals some primates. In the 1990’s, 15,000 of the birds soared above New Zealand’s South Island, but today only an estimated 1,000 remain.
The birds are well-known across the country for their mischievous ways, thus their cheeky name.
“It’s the flocks of teenage boys that are generally the real trouble makers, flying around, sliding down people’s roofs, throwing stones at windows and making a nuisance of themselves,” said Tamsin Orr-Walker, chairwoman of the Kea Conservation Trust.
Conservationists blame a few things for their decline, but a common poison used to kill opossums, 1080, and lead poisoning from the birds eating nail heads seem to be the top culprits. Up until 1971, they were the target of an extermination campaign by farmers because the birds tend to attack livestock.
“People are really starting to appreciate their great personalities, and how smart they are and like humans,” said Orr-Walter. “But we’re still hearing of dead birds, stapled to signs or found in plastic bags by the side of the road, so there’s still a long way to go.”Via: Epoch Times Photo Credit: jsmjr on Flickr under Creative Commons license.