Lucky hiker reunited with Go-Pro after kea brazenly steals it

A cheeky kea has caused a stir in Fiordland National Park and captured footage wildlife photographers could only dream of.

The feathered thief made off with hiker Alex Verhuel's Go-Pro while it was still recording before it sat the camera down and nibbled on some grass.

"Luca, my son, had the Go-Pro and he put it down on the railing thinking he'd get some footage of the kea and it ran straight for it and flew away," Verhuel says.

The cheeky kea struck on the Kepler Track in broad daylight.

"They're pretty fun animals. They were following us around the next day and they stole a cup off us," Verhuel says.

Known for their mischief, kea often cause trouble for travellers by getting into backpacks and places they shouldn't. 

"Once a kea flew off with a Scotsman's passport on Milford Road. It cost him about $400 to get a new one," says DoC science advisor Josh Kemp.

Interactions like these endear these endangered birds to us humans, but they also highlight the dangers that the curious kea face.

"Normally a kea will have a more than 95 percent chance of surviving the year. When they get involved in human stuff that can drop to 80 percent," Kemp says.

With more than 100 kea living in Fiordland National Park, the advice is to keep an eye on your gear.

"Take your stuff inside if you're going to repack your pack. You can take your lunch outside but hold onto it," Kemp advises.

But luckily, this theft had a happy ending.

"I didn't expect to [find the Go-Pro] but I knew I wouldn't stop searching since mum told me to, otherwise I would owe around $70," Luca Verhuel says.

Go-Pro found - with pictures that are priceless.