Although Kea are protected within New Zealand by laws that prohibit their capture, mistreatment, and export, parrot-smuggling is a lucrative business and kea are captured for the black market pet trade.
The kea has been fully protected by national law since 1986.
Kea are protected within New Zealand by the Wildlife Act of 1953, the National Parks Act, the Animals Protection Act, and the Trade in Endangered Species Act. These laws prohibit the capture of kea on private and public lands, prohibit their mistreatment, and ban their export.
However, parrot-smuggling is a lucrative business, and kea are often captured and exported for the black market pet trade.