DOC kills pet keas

This story saddens and angers me so much, I am lost for words. But don’t worry, I’ll find some, if only to express my disgust and outrage at the Department of Conservation workers – yes, you read that right – CONSERVATION workers – who caused the death of 2 ageing kea for no reason other than…bureaucracy. Read and weep, because these are the numbskulls supposedly looking after our environment and our native wildlife. God help us all.

Stuff?reports: quote

A Darfield family blames the Department of Conservation (DOC) for the death of their beloved kea Casper and Stumpy.

The endangered alpine parrots have been part of Ron Stewart’s family since 1977 – but on Saturday morning he found them dead on the floor of their aviary.

Less than 24 hours earlier, a DOC ranger and veterinarian?took blood samples from the birds despite Stewart pleading with them not to. end quote.

The birds were presumably no longer breeding, as they were over 40 years old. They deserved to be allowed to live out their years in peace. To have kept them alive and into their 40s is a feat in itself, and all credit must go to Ron Stewart and his family. But then DOC got involved and bureaucracy took over, with a tragic outcome. quote:

The birds, thought to be about 43 years old,?were given to Stewart and his late wife Dawn, an internationally renowned parrot breeder, by?DOC’s predecessor, the Wildlife Service, ?in 1977.

Casper had a head injury and Stumpy’s leg had to be amputated. They?were unlikely to survive in the wild. end quote

But with good care, they lived to be over 40 years old. This is way above average for keas. Obviously, they were wonderfully cared for. And then along came DOC. quote:

In 2012, DOC told Ron Stewart the aviary no longer met the minimum standards for the care of captive kea. Unless?he increased its size from 24 cubic metres to 180m3, they would find a new home for Casper and Stumpy.

Stewart and his daughter-in-law Diana Stewart disagreed. They believed a bigger enclosure would kill the birds and they wanted them to remain in their existing home until they died naturally. end quote.

See what I mean about bureaucracy? The birds were clearly fine. They would never have lived so long otherwise. But DOC had to jackboot all over it. quote:

DOC insisted on rehoming the birds but needed to complete a health assessment before it could be done. end quote.

The birds were obviously happy and healthy, but we can’t have that, can we? quote:

DOC insisted on rehoming the birds but needed to complete a health assessment before it could be done.

Ron Stewart said it took 75 minutes for the vet get the blood from both birds after she had trouble trying to find veins. Both Casper and Stumpy were “screaming in pain”, he said.

“I’ve never heard them scream like that before.” end quote.

I am lost for words at that. quote:

After the ranger and vet left, Ron Stewart said he found the two birds huddled together around their water bowl. The next morning they were dead. end quote.

Still, don’t know what to say. quote:

DOC had been working to improve the outcomes for captive kea by removing them from premises that did not meet standards, to?professionally-run institutions and existing kea flocks. end quote.

These kea were both in their 40s, which is probably about the equivalent of 150-year-old humans. The only way they were going to survive is if they were left alone by DOC. But we can’t have that, can we? quote:

Since 2012, DOC had rehoused 15 birds from?nine facilities to new homes such as the Wellington Zoo.

Thompson said the health assessment was conducted to ensure the birds did not have viruses or diseases?that could be transferred to other birds.

He said the entire procedure took about 35 minutes per bird.?Both birds were alert and did not appear to be distressed after the assessment, he said. end quote.

Well, as they obviously died from shock, DOC’s assessment was woefully incorrect. But what can you expect? Now let’s add barefaced lying to the list of things they have done to deserve scorn.

In a follow-up article,?Stuff?reports that a conservation expert claims that the kea’s aviary was ‘like a pig crate’. quote:

Tamsin Orr-Walker, chairwoman and co-founder of the Kea Conservation Trust, said she was appalled by the conditions the two kea were kept in.

“The bigger picture is those birds were not held in great conditions,” she said. end quote

This may be true, but all I can say is that it cannot have been that bad if the keas lived to the age of 43, when the average age of a kea is probably about 25 years. Their living conditions cannot have been that bad then, can they?

No. This is just DOC in damage control, now doing a character assassination on the people who cared for the keas for 41 years. Just think about that for a minute.

Every time anyone tries to mine a piece of conservation land, Eugenie Sage and Forest and Bird are up in arms, screaming about endangered snails and ferns. But DOC can go off and kill two keas and that’s all fine. This is yet another case of bureaucracy gone crazy, flying in the face of common sense. We seem to see nothing else these days.