“There is a huge amount of fundamentalist spin being told about the current tahr situation” says the NZ Tahr Foundation.
The facts - DoC’s own science they are basing the cull on has been hastily gathered, is statistically shaky, and puts
the population at anywhere between 17,000 and 50,000. On top of the 3,000 they recently culled, they are proposing to
cull another 17,500 outside Mt Cook and Westland National Parks, and all the tahr inside the National Parks. This is potentially 25,000 to 30,000 tahr, when the population may well be as low
as 20,000. (The Minister has misrepresented the numbers and been very disingenuous in today’s Government Press Release)
Their proposal to shoot 30% of the total culled as identifiable males is laughable, when their own data says they only
make up 16% of the population. “Whoever wrote the plan did not look at their own science!”
They do not know whether the population is increasing, peaked, or begun to decrease. Their own modelling which they are
now ignoring says the current harvest will stop the estimated tahr population of 35,000 from exploding.
There is no impending ecological catastrophe nor a population explosion that requires this knee jerk reaction. Tahr are
not starving on the hill as Andy Roberts from DoC claimed. This is just more propaganda.
“We are not saying there does not need to be some reduction, but this is eradication in disguise, not population
control. This whole proposal smacks of indigenous fundamentalist ideology. It defies the reality of NZ today.”
DoC’s control plan is Ill-conceived and ill-thought out and will wreck businesses and recreational hunting totally
Doc has been very quick to take money from the commercial hunting sector fostering their businesses over the last 10
years, and now intends to wreck them on the whim of whom? Is this an instruction from the Minister of Conservation or
DoC gone rogue? Somebody needs to come clean.
DoC are quoting the 1993 Himalayan Tahr Control Plan, but it’s now 2018 – 25 years later. They were supposed to review
it within 5 years and it’s never been done. It is well past its best by date and isn’t fit for purpose.
The hunting sector has never been allowed to manage tahr. We have always wanted a much greater input into management but DoC has never allowed it
and instead have limited our access to the land where the problem numbers are. They stopped all tahr hunter liaison
group meetings 3 years ago. The only example of hunter management being allowed in NZ is the Fiordland Wapiti Foundation
and even DoC admits this has been a huge success at no cost to the tax payer!
The hunting sector is currently collectively developing an alternative control proposal that will reduce tahr numbers in
a co-ordinated and scientifically based manner without destroying the resource. Over three years we can reduce the
population without destroying the multi-million dollar industry that relies on it, nor the recreation of thousands of
New Zealanders – at a time when we all acknowledge our population is becoming increasingly sedentary and we need every
incentive to get people up off the couch!
Hunters want to manage the herds, they want to help conservation and they want to work with a Department which listens
and is considerate of the value game animals have to everyday New Zealanders.
Our lawyers are in the process of serving a letter to the department notifying them if they do not put a stay to the
cull and carry out proper consultation, then an interim injunction will be sought as part of a judicial review.
The letter will likely be served today and the injunction will follow if common sense does not prevail.
The last word - Gordon George of the Tahr Foundation says “A mature well considered and consulted discussion, free from
dogma, is the way forward for future management. As the minister noted July 16th on TV1's Sunday program: "we are a
democracy, so we need to consult, we need to ensure we have all the facts so that we have a clear workable plan". Her
plan for tahr is not workable, they do not have all the facts, they have not consulted and it’s clear the minister has a
different understanding of democracy to the rest of the country.”