Every year kea are found injured, sick or dead. This page will follow their veterinary care and rehabilitation and/or the results of autopsies where applicable.
It is hoped that not only will this highlight and identify the issues that are impacting on individual animals in the wild, but will also pay tribute to those people responsible for caring for and ensuring the safe return of healthy kea to the wild.
By SUSAN SHANNON
Hobo is an approx 4 yr old male kea from Arthurs Pass. He had been noticed with a sore leg & was finally caught by Cory & brought to the clinic a few weeks later on the 16/10/12.
Hobo was very bright & active but in average body condition only weighing 750g ( his previous weight when captured as an adult in July 2009 was 920g). He was lame on the right leg & stood with his foot twisted ( rather than digits 1 & 4 facing backwards they were twisted forward so he was weight bearing on the outside surface of digit 4) , his hock was very swollen with poor mobility & a bumble foot lesion ( deep skin infection) laterally. Hobo was lightly anaesthetised so we could take some Xrays & blood & joint samples. A diagnosis of likely traumatic ( rather than infectious ) arthritis was made & he was started on a course of antibiotics to clear the "Bumble foot" .After the infection was resolved the swelling settled but he was still using his foot in a twisted fashion . I discussed Hobo with Brett Gartrell at Wildbase Massey University who offered referral for an attempt at hock arthrodesis ( fusing the joint) & foot realignment to attempt to save the leg, the only other option was amputation . We decided to go with amputation to shorten the rehab period.
On 30/10/12 Hobo had his leg amputated at the hock creating a pad over the stump so this could comfortably weight bear. He recovered uneventfully from surgery but a few hours later decided to have a peck at his wound making it bleed so it was on with a bandage & an Elizabethan collar which surprisingly lasted quite well. He was placed on more antibiotics & painrelief . After several redressings the wound healed well & he seemed to be using the stump without discomfort. Cory placed a transmitter so Hobo's progress could be monitored & Hobo was finally released back where he was caught in Arthurs Pass on 16/11/12.
I had Hobo at home with me most of this time which was alot of work but a real privilege to get up close & personal with such a wonderful bird. It was a challenge to keep him entertained .I have attached photos before & after cleaning his enclosure!! Rachel Johnston provided a few bird toys & started him on good selection of browse to gnaw on - coprosma, corokia , hebe & broadleaf. He lived mostly on carrots & apples, soaked oats & dog or cat biscuits with a few wee treats of cheese & nuts. I also supplemented him with a Harrisons parrot recovery formula ( usually laced with his antibiotics) - photo attached me syringe feeding. He weighed 790g at release.
I have received a text from Cory reporting Hobo is still alive & well. Go well Hobo!!
THANK YOU TO ALL THOSE PEOPLE WHO HELPED IN HOBOS CARE:
Hobos return back to the wild could not have been achieved without the input and support from a significant number of people and organsiations. We would like to thank all of those people who provided their time and funds as follows: