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Well-meaning tourists pose a threat to kea, study shows

01 July 2024

Tourists’ irresponsible behaviour around kea, such as feeding the birds, poses a potential threat to the species’ survival, new UC research has found.

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Photo caption:UC research finds tourists feeding kea poses a potential threat to the species’ survival.

Dr Richard Aquino and Professor Girish Prayag from Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha | 91Ƭ (UC) Business School have discovered that tourists are often unable to resist the temptation to feed kea despite awareness that they shouldn’t. With tourist locations located in proximity to kea populations, there’s more likelihood of kea being exposed to human food through stealing, soliciting and scavenging food. This puts kea at an increased risk of involuntary poisoning from toxins meant for their predators.

These findings will help inform social marketing campaigns to encourage responsible visitor behaviour and support the protection of native birds, in conjunction with the Department of Conservation.

UC marketing students will also benefit, with Dr Aquino and Professor Prayag’s research being integrated into the curriculum of , and at the UC Business School, which are core courses of the Bachelor of Commerce in Tourism Marketing and Management.

“We want to equip the students with not just the knowledge, but also the mindset that business can be sustainable, and that marketing can be used to drive social change.

“Managing a business properly is one thing, but then managing a business sustainably and responsibly is another,” Dr Aquino says.

The UC Business School is internationally recognised as one of the new members of Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) Champions for 2024-2025.

Dr Aquino says being the only Aotearoa New Zealand university recognised as a PRME champion “says a lot about our positioning as a sustainability-oriented Business School, and how we are achieving our vision and mission to create positive social change”.

UC Business School Sustainability and PRME Lead Dr Joya Kemper says the PRMEconnection sets UC graduates apart from others, “making them highly attractive to employers”.

“We see a large demand for corporate social responsibility and sustainable knowledge and skills from employers.”

The UC Business School joins 47 international Business Schools as PRME Champions.

sdg 12 Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 15 - Responsible consumption and production.

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