Terry Dern, Chief of Police at Arthurs Pass, has been alerted to investigate some recent kea deaths. Some keas were found impaled on a road sign. It is suspected that it was the work of local sheep farmers, angry at the kea for attacking their livelihood. Media focus has highlighted the decline of this national bird as a result of 1080 drops, but the Conservation Department has answered with a new and improved batch labeled 1090, that the bird is supposedly immune to. Soon after the drops begin, however, there is a vast new spate of attacks on livestock in the area. Trampers at Arthurs Pass are also finding that the kea, normally known as a cheeky bird, has now become downright aggressive. They seem to be taking their fight to the human! When before they may have nicked the odd passport and lunch, and attacked the odd sheep, they are now moving on to bigger and better things.
Now the trampers; the police and the farmers in the area are not so much caught in a game of cat and mouse, but a game of bird and human. But whereas the angry farmers want the keas dead; others want to protect them and return the status quo, and the trampers just want to get to safety, the rules of the game have become a little more complicated. Salvation may only come in the unlikeliest of forms. Whatever the case, the squawky birds are trying to tell us something, “Don’t mess with nature, or nature might just mess with you!”