Prior to 2010, the captive standards for kea were minimal. This resulted in a captive population held in facilities ranging from very barren environments and outdated management systems (which constituted a serious welfare issue) to highly enriched and complex environments with excellent and forward-thinking husbandry practices.
In 2010, a new husbandry manual written by the Kea Conservation Trust and endorsed by the Department of Conservation and the Zoo and Aquarium Association (ZAA), was presented to holders to ensure kea welfare standards and husbandry practices were increased significantly across the board.
The new standards aim to:
- Increase environment standards through introduction of complexity and size
- Increase husbandry techniques to maximise individual birds welfare (both physical and mental)
- Increase advocacy potential of kea held in captivity
- Increase understanding of captive management techniques for this species
An audit sheet included in the Husbandry Manual provides facilities with the ability to internally audit their kea facilities as well as to enable DOC across different conservancies to consistently audit facilities within their area.