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Friday, 22 March 2019 08:19 pm

Have a sticky-beak at keas in zoo’s new walk-through enclosure

Kea in the new habitat at Wellington Zoo

Wellington Zoo’s new $750,000 walk-through kea enclosure opened over Wellington Anniversary weekend.

The kea habitat is the final stage of the Meet the Locals He Tuku Aroha interactive area which has taken five years to complete.

People will be able to have a close encounter with the birds and learn more about them says herbivore team leader Robert Stoop.

“We’re thrilled to see the kea aviary complete and have our kea family exploring their new home,” says Stoop.

There are currently six kea in the aviary with another one hopefully to be added by the weekend says Ashleigh Howell, marketing and communications advisor for the zoo.

Wellington Zoo is part of the national breeding programme and has successfully bred three chicks from Murray, the male kea says Howell.

One of Wellington Zoo’s seven kea

Opening weekend visitors experienced kea themed entertainment including daily Kea talks at 10.45am and 1.30pm, as well as kea based games from 9.45am each day and live entertainment on 23 January from 1.30pm.

The kea is the world’s only alpine parrot and is considered nationally endangered in the wild due to threats from introduced predators.

Chris Lam Sam, Johnsonville (36) is a regular visitor to the zoo with his young family and is excited by the inclusion of the kea to the Meet the Locals area.

“Our three young boys love spending time exploring all the interactive activities there.

“We probably spend about 20% of our visit in that section of the zoo every time.”

Corryn Vemoa, Kilbirnie (36) has a family pass to the zoo and often goes with her young son but wasn’t aware the kea were being added.

“I’d be interested to know if it was pre-schooler friendly as that determines a lot of what we see.”

Wynne Reddish, Grenada Village (59) visits the zoo occasionally when her grandchildren are visiting in the holidays and was at the zoo last week so missed out on seeing the new habitat.

“I know a little about kea but not a lot.

“Meet the locals is great for the younger children,” says Reddish.

The Meet the Locals area includes sheep, kunekune pigs, bees, Kororā little blue penguins, grand and Otago skinks, Maud Island frogs and kea.

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