16 October 2018
The Department of Conservation (DOC) will begin tahr control this week following the release of its operational plan
outlining how it will work with the hunting sector to reduce tahr numbers in the central South Island.
DOC monitoring has estimated the Himalayan tahr population on public conservation land alone (not including Crown
pastoral leases and private land) as totalling more than 35,000 animals.
The Tahr Control Operational Plan was developed following a recent meeting with representatives of the Tahr Liaison
Group and includes ideas from the hunting sector on the best way to, over time, reduce numbers.
“By the end of August next year, DOC aims to reduce the tahr population on public conservation land by 10,000,” says
DOC’s acting lead director for tahr control, David Agnew.
Heavy browsing and trampling by mobs of tahr damages, and can potentially wipe out, the native plants they feed on,
including tall tussocks and iconic species like the Aoraki/Mt Cook buttercup.
“With the support of the hunting sector, DOC aims to remove 6000 animals from public conservation land between now and
mid-November,” says David Agnew.
DOC will start aerial control from this Thursday (weather permitting).
“DOC will review the results of this initial operation with the Tahr Liaison Group in December. This review, alongside
vegetation and population monitoring data, will influence what further tahr control is needed.
“DOC, aerially assisted trophy hunter operators, Wild Animal Recovery Operation concession holders and other hunters
will undertake further control to remove 10,000 animals in total.
“I hope the recent tahr media coverage has inspired a new generation of recreational hunters to assist DOC by hunting
tahr and playing their part to keep numbers down.
“Our native and threatened plants stand their best chance at survival with reduced tahr numbers. It’s crucial we work
together to achieve this.
“The longstanding Himalayan Thar Control Plan sets an upper limit of 10,000 animals. DOC is working with members of the
Tahr Liaison Group to, over time, reduce the population to keep within this limit.
“Once we’ve reached our initial targets, DOC will continue to work with the Tahr Liaison Group on the best strategy to
achieve this long-term goal,” says David Agnew.