Peter Leach, a former Royal Navy employee, was driving around the South Island of New Zealand in a campervan last week, when he stopped to take pictures of the scenery.
He pulled in at a rest area along State Highway 73 to take in the views at Arthur's Pass and, while there, took a picture of a kea (a species of parrot native to New Zealand) that had stopped nearby.
As he strolled around the area, the bird reportedly flew into the open windows of his campervan and lifted $1100 of the local currency from the dashboard inside. According to the Scottish Daily Record, Mr Leach was unaware of the theft until two fellow tourists pointed it out.
"A Canadian couple walked by and said, ‘We’ve just seen that bird take something out of your van.’," Mr Leach said.He said all that remained was the equivalent of £20 in his front pocket. He reported to incident to police, but the chances of retrieving the currency remain slim. "The officer was very serious for the first few questions," Mr Leach said.
"Then he said, ‘Do you mind if I just stop to laugh?’ I suppose I can’t blame him."Four years ago, another Scottish tourist in New Zealand had his passport stolen by a kea.
The birds are known for their intelligence, and have also been blamed for vandalising cars, including breaking off wing mirrors and stripping rubber from windscreens.
The zoologist Mark Cawardine describes them as “a devilish mountain parrot feared by hire car companies.” Mr Leach, however, remains determined to continue on his travels, with friends apparently loaning him money for the rest of the trip.