Conflict between kea and New Zealand high country sheep farmers was first recorded in Wanaka during the laste 1860’s. Signficant sheep losses were attributed to kea attacking sheep and in an effort to “fix” the kea problem on high country runs, the government instigated a bounty system for kea. Bounties reached as high as £1 a beak – about $120 today (Temple, 2011). Half of the bounty amount was paid out by the Department of Agriculture who published this information and from this a conservative figure of 150,000 keas were estimated killed in the 100 years to 1970 (ibid).
The term ‘kea strike’ or ‘flagging’ was used to describe the physical damage done by a kea to sheep.