The Kea Conservation Trust has gathered data on kea (biodata, sightings, conflict/incident information, nest progress/outcomes, camera footage, catch information, tracking outcomes, behavioural observations ) and their threats (lead presence/removal, pest sightings) while working with multiple partners across multiple projects since it was founded in 2006. As a small team with limited funds, reveiwing and analysing this constantly growing body of data, has been challenging and at times overwhelming. Since 2020 we have been working closely with our partners, here in Aotearoa and overseas, to work through all the information collected (often in different and now obsolete formats) to ensure no information is lost and is reviewed to better learn about the wonderful kea!
This page will showcase some of the great partnerships developed to enable the Great Kea Conservation Trust data review! Thank you to everyone involved - we couldn't do this work without you!
Kea Sightings Review
The Team - Denver Zoo, Colorado: Jessica Meehan, Disa Skaff, Kellie Burch, Satya Akquia, Thea McCormack and Miguel Landa working with the Kea Database Team: Dr Laura Young, George Moon and Di Cowan.
Founded in 2016 by Dr. Laura Young, George Moon and Mark Brabyn, the Kea Database is a citizen science initiative in which residents and visitors to New Zealand can report sightings, review past sightings, and identify individual kea by their unique bands. Starting in 2019, the Kea Conservation Trust (KCT) began directing all people reporting kea sightings on the KCT Website to the Kea Database so that all community-based sighting would be in one spot. However, KCT had 12 years of historical sightings data from their website stored on a spreadsheet that needed to be back-dated into the Kea Database so all sightings could be housed in one location. The format of these sightings varied year over year and even row by row, so each one would have to be entered manually – a major challenge!
Conservation from Across the Globe
Denver Zoo in Denver, Colorado, USA has supported Kea Conservation Trust yearly since 2018 with grant funding for a variety of projects including field equipment for the Stuart Mountains/Fiordland surveys and many other projects, field assistance, and non-toxic construction materials for the Lead Free Kea initiative. But it became clear that Denver Zoo staff could have a bigger impact for the same price tag by working remotely to enter KCT’s historical data into the Kea Database. To help funding go further, Denver Zoo sent grant funds directly to KCT and established the remote Kea Database Project for their staff so they could still be directly involved in conservation work.
Starting in 2020, Jessica Meehan, Bird Keeper and the Kea Population Manager for North American Zoos, collaborated with Dr. Laura Young and the Kea Database team to initiate the Kea Database Project. A set of standard procedures was developed so that sightings that included vague times or incomplete information could still be entered. The group of Denver Zoo staff helping enter kea data grew to 6 by the time the project was completed in 2023 and included Animal Care Specialists, a Marketing Coordinator, a Community Events Manager and even a High School Intern. Project participants reviewed 1665 rows of data on spreadsheets and found 1287 were detailed enough to be manually entered.
This interactive map shows data entered by the Kea Database Team, with sightings dating from 2007-2019.
A massive thank you to all involved!