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Milford Track Kea Initiative - investigating the health and status of kea on the Milford Track

Ultimate Hikes has been identifying and removing lead from huts on the Milford Track since 2018 to minimise the impact of lead on kea in Fiordland.

The Milford Track Kea Initiative will build on the work already undertaken by Ultimate Hikes by i) assessing the status and health of kea along the Milford Track, ii) developing a pool of education and advocacy resources for track users and iii) providing opportunities for people to get involved with kea conservation initiatives.

This project will run annually from the end of October to the end of April. Outcomes will be posted regularly on this page.


2021-2022 Great Walks Season Outcomes

Two catch trips were carried out in February and December 2021.

February (15-18th):

Three new kea were banded (2 adult males and a juvenile male) around McKinnon Pass and a resighting of AZ on blue (Kelvina ) who was banded the previous year. This trip also provided a valuable training opportunity for our kea trainee towards their L2 banding certificate and provided the opportunity to deliver public education talks at the hut.

December (11-15th):

Eighteen new kea were banded and added to the Kea Database and re-sightings entered. For a list of all banded birds on the track, please scroll to the bottom of this page.

This trip also enabled training opportunity for four trianee banders towards their L2 banding certificate. Further public education talks were delivered at Quinton Lodge, Mintaro Hut and Pompolona Lodge. By the end of the season, all kea had been sponsored by Ultimate Hikes guests allowing for ongoing kea conservation work on the Milford and Routeburn Tracks and to support the Murchison Mountains kea project.


2019 - 2020 Great Walks Season Outcomes

Funding $5,000

Aims:

  • To test blood lead levels of kea in the Milford Track area
  • To apply bands for identification of individual kea from a distance
  • To support projects by DOC, University of Canterbury and University of Otago researchers by collecting feather and blood samples.

Area Covered
Milford Track, in particular areas above bush line around Mackinnon Pass and Sutherland Falls.

28th – 30th December 2019 Trip Outcome

  • Four kea were caught over a period of three days – two at the Mackinnon memorial and two at Sutherland Falls. All were banded, measured, and given a health assessment.
  • Blood samples were taken from three of the birds for lead testing and other research projects. Results from the three blood lead samples were all low.

Have you seen the Ultimate Hikes kea?

If you see any of these banded birds while you're on the Milford Track and surrounds, please report them to the keadatabase!

  • Black AD on Orange
  • White AZ on Blue
  • Red AR on White
  • Black A2 on Yellow
  • White A3 on Red
  • White AU on Green
  • White AH on Brown
  • White B6 on Blue
  • Yellow BG on Blue
  • White C5 on Green
  • White DJ on Red
  • Yellow C1 on Blue
  • Black CH on Orange
  • White DK on Orange
  • White DG on Black
  • White DJ on Blue
  • White DF on Green
  • White BJ on Blue
  • Black D5 on Orange
  • Black BG on Yellow
  • Black CK on Yellow
  • Black DG on Yellow
  • Black C5 on White
  • Yellow CK on Blue

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