Kea are dying of lead poisoning. Sponsor a sick kea today and be part of the team helping our kea survive!
Kea are dying of lead poisoning. Lead is a toxic heavy metal which is present across the South Island in the form of lead shot, lead wheel weights, paint, roof flashings and nail heads in many buildings built prior to the 1990’s. Lead has been found throughout our National Parks, at our ski fields, alpine villages, coastal white bait areas, high country sheep stations, car parks and old gold mine areas.
As a heavy metal, lead accumulates within kea over time and causes neurological and physiological damage. The good news is that kea can be successfully treated and lead removed from their system if caught in time.
Chelation therapy is the process by which this is carried out and depending on initial blood lead levels can take between 5 and 20 days. Treatment involves removing lead from the soft tissue and bones using Calcium EDTA (which binds the lead and allows it to be excreted), flushing any lead particles from the gastrointestinal tract to prevent further absorption and provision of supportive care during this process and between treatments. This is an extremely time consuming and expensive process requiring commitment from wildlife veterinary specialists and rehabilitation facilities.
Wildlife vets and rehabilitation centres around the South Island have stepped up to help kea get the treatment and care they need, but our carers now need your help to help them cover their costs to ensure no kea goes untreated.
To find out about which kea need your help please visit our website page https://www.keaconservation.co.nz/projects-research/sponsor-a-kea-needing-treatment-for-lead-poisoning/. Please enter the keas ID (found at the link above) when you make your donation otherwise funds will be used to help those kea in most need.
The Kea Conservation Trust was set up in 2006 to assist in conservation of wild Kea (Nestor notabilis) in their natural habitat and to increase the husbandry standards and advocacy potential of those Kea held in captive facilities within New Zealand.
Supporting our wildlife and rehab experts treat lead poisoned kea through provision of life saving medical supplies and ongoing food costs.
Lead Free Kea Update 19 July 2019
With your help, we have been able to blood lead test over 50 kea in the past year ( at Arthur's Pass, Manapouri, Milford Rd, Kepler Track and Franz Josef to Okarito on the West Coast). This has enabled us to identify lead 'hotspots' for community clean up and also individual kea which require urgent treatment. Half a dozen of these birds have now been treated in the past year by our Wildlife Hospital partners (Dunedin and Christchurch) and returned to the wild. It is clear this issue is extensive, impacting on kea right across the South Island and as such it is vitally important we continue this work to ensure kea become lead free! Help us make this a reality!