The Minister of Conservation welcomes the planned start this Thursday, weather permitting, of the Department of Conservation’s Himalayan tahr control operation following discussion and consultation with hunters and other stakeholders on the Tahr Liaison Group.
“The target of controlling 10,000 Himalayan tahr over the next eight months remains. The revised plan provides for a staged control operation with increased reporting to the Tahr Liaison Group. I welcome the progress between DOC, hunters, Treaty partners and other organisations with an interest in Himalayan tahr on the best way to move forward.” Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage said.
“DOC and hunters will now work together to achieve an initial control of 6,000 animals before mid-November to stop the tahr population from increasing this summer and destroying more of the native plants they feed on. Then DOC will assess what further action is needed to reach the 10,000 animal target by August 2019 in consultation with the Tahr Liaison Group.
“Two years of aerial monitoring has shown that the numbers of Himalayan tahr in the mountain lands of the Southern Alps have ballooned to damaging levels with estimates of more than 35,000 animals. This is more than three times the number of animals permitted by the long established Himalayan Tahr Control Plan. Urgent action is required to protect our environment.
“To be very clear though, there is absolutely no plan to eradicate tahr completely. Even after this control work is done, there will still be thousands of tahr available for guided Himalayan tahr hunting and hunting tourist ventures.
“DOC has been consulting hunters and other stakeholders on the draft operational plan and how to best undertake the control operation. Their input has been appreciated.
“Finalising the operational plan has involved input from every organisation with an interest in Himalayan tahr through the Tahr Liaison Group. It has been a constructive and productive effort by all parties,” Eugenie Sage said.
“I am pleased that DOC will be fulfilling its responsibilities to control Himalayan tahr as set out in the Himalayan Tahr Control Plan 1993.
“Protecting threatened species and nature in general is at the heart of New Zealand’s success. Hunters appreciate how healthy native vegetation such as the iconic Aoraki/Mt Cook buttercup and snow tussocks are part of an enjoyable outdoors experience.”