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Published: 2016-02-15 00:00:00

A pest Indian ring neck parakeet population near Paeroa has prompted a call for owners of these birds to do all they can to prevent them escaping.

It’s unclear exactly how the 12-15 bird population became established in Hikutaia but it’s possibly the result of pets escaping from cages.

Waikato Regional Council biosecurity officer Thomas Malcolm says the council and other agencies are keen to prevent the spread of the parakeets in the region.

“Late last year the Indian ring neck parakeet was determined to be an unwanted organism by the Ministry for Primary Industries as they can do severe damage to crops and introduce diseases amongst native birds, such as the endangered native kaka.”

The unwanted organism status means the parakeets can’t be released into the wild without permission from the ministry. Breeding or exhibiting the parakeets in captivity or selling them to be held in captivity is permitted.

The council, the ministry and the Department of Conservation are now considering options for controlling the Hikutaia birds.

“In the meantime we encourage all owners of these birds to do all they can to prevent escapes, and to get their wings clipped regularly.

“If they no longer want their pet bird, or cannot care for it any longer, people should not release it into the wild. There are aviaries that will take them.” Contact Mr Malcolm on 0800 800 401 for advice.

Mr Malcolm said there were no other known populations of the parakeets in the wild at this stage in Waikato.

Anyone who believes they have seen Indian ring necked parakeets can report sightings to the ministry on 0800 80 99 66. The birds are usually green or yellow but can also be blue or grey. People are asked to take note of the location and time birds are seen, how many there were, the direction they were heading and what they were doing.