“Statements from New Zealand Conservation Authority Chair Edward Ellison that imply tahr hunting is a niche tourism industry are highly inaccurate,” said the NZ Tahr Foundation.
“The 52,000 people that have signed the petition to halt the cull and the 1000 or so people that turned up at Aoraki/Mt Cook on Sunday should tell Ellison that this is far from some niche tourism industry. Tahr mean a great deal to tens of thousands of New Zealanders,” said Tahr Foundation spokesman Willie Duley.
“Aerial Assisted Trophy Hunting (AATH) that Ellison mentions accounts for only a small minority of the tahr hunting that goes on in our National Parks. While the commercial industry is important to many people’s livelihoods, the vast majority of tahr hunting is done by Kiwi recreational hunters who total 166,000 people.
“Recreational hunters are not obliged to produce their tahr hunting returns, but from the large number of people that are transported in and out of the National Parks during the peak of the season and the number of animals they bring out, we know that many hundreds of tahr are removed by recreational hunters.
“To totally disregard this is, frankly, disingenuous,”Duley said.
“The Game Animal Council alongside DOC recently released an app for recreational hunters to record and submit their tahr returns so that we can gain better data on exactly how many tahr are removed. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 lockdown and the current culling programme have undermined any chance that the project will be successful.
“All stakeholders agree that DOC has never undertaken the research and monitoring of vegetation impacts and herd densities necessary to inform the appropriate management of tahr. This needs to be done as part of a thorough review of the out-of-date 1993 Himalayan Tahr Control Plan so we can put this almost-annual conflict behind us,” said Duley.
View edition 984 of the Wānaka Sun here.