New Zealand's only kea dog headed for retirement

New Zealand's only registered kea dog is going into retirement.

Ajax and his owner Corey Mosen have spent many years monitoring the endangered bird, and now their epic adventures have been documented in a new book.

"Being a kea dog means he indicates when there's a kea around and more specifically a kea nest," said Mr Mosen.

Ajax is the Department of Conservation's resident four-legged kea expert.

A furry environmentalist tasked with tracking down the endangered alpine parrot across the South Island.

"We've got selected research sites where we focus to learn some information about the population," Mr Mosen said.

Ajax sniffs out the nests and Mosen will tag and weigh the kea.

The pair have been working together since Ajax was 2 months old, traversing mountains, and bush in search of the elusive birds.

The kea population is less than the kiwi and the duo's efforts are vital for monitoring and ensuring the survival of the species. 

"We're out in the wilderness when it's snowing, it's windy, it's frozen, when it's really hot, we're out there in all extremes of weather," Mr Mosen said.

Ajax on the job. It's real cute, he's giving his owner a loving look.
Ajax on the job. Photo credit: Newshub.

But at the ripe old age of seven the time has come for the pup to call it a day.

"I'd out pace him and he'd need more rest than me and it really came to a head when I had to carry him out one day. I had to empty out my pack and put him in it," Mr Mosen said.

But despite age taking its toll Ajax is ending his career on a high.

And it seems he can now add 'co-author' to his CV, with the release of a book about his and Mr Mosen's adventures.

"I always just thought it would make some good yarns when you're sitting round with your mates," Mr Mosen said.

"It's great to get something published out there, I'm pretty happy with it aye."

So what does that mean for the kea population now that Mr Mosen has lost his right hand pooch?

"It does make life a little bit harder to find the nests. We can still do it without him, but he just speeds it up a wee bit," he said.

From now on man and nature's best friend will just be waiting at home for a nice pat.