New Zealanders, beware: a plucky kea parrot has been caught swiping a GoPro from an unsuspecting tourist in the Fiordland National Park. Fortunately, we have eyes on the suspect, namely because the bird filmed the whole heist using the stolen camera in its beak.
The kea is a species of greenish-yellow parrot found in the forested and alpine regions of the South Island of New Zealand. Nicknamed the “naughty alpine parrot,” the species are known for their intelligence, curiosity, and playfulness — which can often land them into trouble with humans.
Speaking to local TV show Seven Sharp, Alex Verheul said their family had just finished their first day hiking around the Kepler Track in Fiordland National Park when they noticed some of the distinctive birds nearby. The GoPro camera was placed on the balcony hoping to catch a glimpse of the kea, but one of the birds snatched the camera in its beak and flew off, filming its get-away around the idyllic national park.
The footage ends with a shot of the thieving kea standing proudly with a bit of the camera’s plastic in its mouth. Then, suddenly, a boy shouts: “I found it!” Against all odds, Verheul’s family managed to track down the GoPro.
“We just followed the sound down there, we could see them hanging out in a tree – they’d obviously heard us coming and abandoned the GoPro,” Verheul told Seven Sharp. “My son decided to go check the rocks where it looked like a good place for a bird to land, and there it was still sitting there, still filming.”
The kea (Nestor notabilis) is considered an endangered species under the IUCN Red List with just 4,000 mature individuals thought to be left in the wild. The species faces a number of threats, ranging from invasive species and climate change to habitat destruction and hunting. Under this pressure, scientists have noted that some members of this alpine parrot are moving to higher mountains to avoid people. Who can blame them?