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Death threats on kaka after pinching plums

Published: 9:32AM Friday February 12, 2010 Source: NZPA

Death threats have been made against kaka after the protected birds were caught eating plums from the trees of neighbours to Wellington's Zealandia Karori Sanctuary.

Zealandia had received complaints from people living near the sanctuary who said the kaka had been eating the fruit from their trees, with one threatening to kill the birds, conservation manager Raewyn Empson told The Dominion Post.

She said the threat was "very unwise", as the birds are strictly protected.

Wellington was the only city with a breeding population of kaka, and some locals had taken to feeding the birds - a no-no, Empson said.

It was important not to lay out food for kaka regularly or hand-feed them, because it could impede their survival in the wild and they may become a nuisance or dangerous once the feeding stopped.

The birds had also been stripping bark from exotic trees at Wellington's Botanic Gardens to get at insects and sap, damaging two birch trees which may not survive, manager David Sole said.

Conifers had also been damaged, but the damage was a small price to pay for seeing more kaka in the park, Sole said.