Video: Meet Ajax the Kea Conservation Dog
Biologist Corey Mosen and his border collie cross dog Ajax, are a dedicated pair protecting the endangered Kea Parrot of New Zealand. Together, they travel across remote and challenging regions of the South Island of New Zealand to research and preserve this rare and remarkably intelligent species.
Did you know…
- The Kea is a large species of parrot found in the forest and alpine regions of South Island of New Zealand
- The Kea is the world’s only alpine parrot.
(Left) Kea in the Snow. © Bernard Spragg/ Wikimedia; (Right) Kea on the Pancake Range, North Canterbury, South Island, New Zealand. © James Ball / Wikimedia
3. It was once targeted by farmers who believed it attacked livestock, in particular, sheep but has been under the protection of the Wildlife Act since 1986.
4. Unlike most parrots, the Kea nests in burrows in the roots of trees.
5. The Kea is an incredibly intelligent bird that has adapted to survive in harsh environments, using and preparing tools to get food.
6. The name Kea is a Maori word that is believed to come from their in-flight call ‘Keee aaa.’
Kea in Flight. © Christian Mehlführer
7. A group of Kea is called a circus.
8. Kea’s are also sometimes called “the clown of the mountains” for their propensity to investigate hikers backpacks, boots, snowboards and cars and are known to carry away small items.
9. Kea have a high mortality rate with less than 40% surviving their first year.
10. Kea are omnivorous and eat everything from plant species, to beetles and other birds and mammals.