Man’s best friend might also be the kea’s best friend.
The world’s only mountain parrot, the kea, risks extinction; the Department of Conservation estimates numbers to be as low as 1,000, largely due to stoats and possums attacking eggs and chicks. This is not rare to New Zealand; in fact, millions of birds have fallen victim to these invasive predators. The introduction of all kinds of non-native mammals that arrived with European migration came at great cost for the native species, who evolved without predatory pressures. New Zealand aims to eradicate all wild predators by 2050 with the help of technology that has yet to be developed, but in the meantime, Ajax is keeping tabs on one of New Zealand’s endangered species.
There are only so many kea conservationists in New Zealand, and there is only one human-dog kea conservation duo in the world: Corey Mosen and Ajax.
Ajax is a highly trained border collie, helping by sticking his nose into hard-to-reach areas and sniffing for underground kea nests.
“Working to conserve an endangered species, it’s really rewarding. Every day is an adventure,” Mosen says of his work. He and Ajax search for kea nests to help monitor the population, sometimes searching for days in the remote areas of New Zealand without luck. At the end of the day, though, they always have each other.
To find out how you can help kea, please visit: keaconservation.co.nz