This article originally appeared on VICE NZ.
Kea, the only alpine parrot in the world, are notorious for being the cheekiest of New Zealand’s native birds. Most of us find this havoc pretty entertaining, but one Nelson man's annoyance at their antics got him into some serious trouble, Stuff reports. Stephen Frost has pleaded guilty to killing a kea after throwing a piece of wood at it, and then "stomping on its head" to end its misery – he then wrapped the poor bird in plastic and tossed it in a skip bin on site.
The construction worker is facing two charges under the Wildlife Act for killing protected wildlife and disposing of protected wildlife without lawful authority. The charges could cost him a maximum penalty of $100,000 or two years imprisonment.
When Frost was confronted by his co-workers after killing the bird, he reportedly told them "it's just a fucking bird". His defence was that kea made a lot of noise which annoyed him as he was already stressed about his father's ill health. "I knew they were extinct and everything,” he said. Actually, kea have been protected since December 1986 and it’s estimated fewer than 5000 kea remain in the wild.
The 46-year-old man had been working on a construction site at Stanely Hill in Motueka Valley, where kea are frequently spotted. There had been reports of kea causing some damage to equipment so the workers were warned by their employer that the birds were protected and had been given practical solutions for dealing with them in the workplace. Despite all this, Frost had been repeatedly seen shouting at the birds and throwing things at them – and on this day took it way too far.