In early 2018, Zero Invasive Predators (ZIP) attached transmitters to 31 kea in the Perth Valley. This was part of a study looking at kea mortality throughout 1080 operations taking place in the winter of 2019. Of these 31 kea, 10 were adult and sub-adult females at the time of first capture. Two died from 1080 poisoning and one dropped its transmitter before the initial 1080 drop, leaving seven possible females to track and potentially find active nests during our follow up monitoring work. The last ZIP SkyRanger tracking flight located three of the seven adult female kea within the operational zone. These kea will be followed in subsequent years to ascertain breeding success. Additionally, the KCT will aim to catch up kea with high blood lead levels so that they can receive treatment and where possible, to remove all lead accessible to kea.
12th – 16th October, 2019.
Aims: Locate radio tagged females to ascertain breeding activity. Locate any other radio tagged and banded individuals (particularly those known to have high blood lead levels).
Outcomes: Of the seven transmittered females, three active kea and one transmitter on a mortality pulse rate were located throughout the trip. Only one signal for the mortality-mode transmitter was gained (from Abel Lake). This indicated that the transmitter was located high up The Great Unknown – an inaccessible area without climbing equipment. It is likely that this is a dropped transmitter and not a kea mortality.
Two of the three active kea were located near Teichelmann Biv. One showed high activity on its data output and was clearly moving about in the valley at the time of tracking. The other was emitting a nesting pulse rate. Unfortunately, after tracking this kea to a point in the alpine, she was found to not be nesting. The low activity from her data output suggests that she may be ready to nest.