INDEPENDENT NEWS

Hunters Ask Conservation Authority To Work For All New Zealanders

Published: Fri 3 Jul 2020 09:26 AM
The Tahr Foundation is asking the Conservation Authority to represent all New Zealanders and their recreational pursuits in National Parks, including the tens of thousands of hunters who flock to them every year.
The Foundation’s plea is in response to the Conservation Authority’s decision to come out in support of DOC’s controversial plan to exterminate Himalayan tahr in national parks.
But Tahr Foundation spokesperson Willie Duley says tahr were living in the mountains before national parks like Aoraki/Mount Cook were created and exterminating them conflicts with the Authority’s role to protect our cultural heritage.
“The Authority is supposed to balance recreation and conservation and its mission statement makes it clear that its role is to ensure that our cultural heritage is valued, restored, maintained, and cared for,” Mr Duley says.
“Hunting is very much part of this country’s cultural fabric and heritage, and we want them to ensure it continues, especially in national parks” Mr Duley says.
“National parks are important to hunters. Every year, thousands visit them to hunt and enjoy their magnificent scenery.
“If the Conservation Authority wants a true picture of our numbers and feelings, have a look at the petition calling for a halt to the tahr extermination plan which has now soared past 30,000 signatures.
“This clearly shows hunters are significant recreational users of national parks and key stakeholders, yet our views are being ignored and our rights trampled,”
Willie Duley is also correcting claims the Conservation Authority is making about tahr.
“We respect the Conservation Authority for its vital role as a kaitiaki so it is disappointing that such an important organisation is using misleading figures and making incorrect claims and accusations to bolster its argument,” Willie Duley says.
“There are not 35,000 tahr roaming our mountains – that figure is out of date and is based on populations before the major culling operations took place. The cull has cut numbers to 20,000 tahr of which only 5,000 are nannies or breeders. Those are the figures that should be used in this debate,” he says.
“And the Authority’s claims that herds of hundreds of tahr can be seen roaming the countryside just leaves me flabbergasted. I spend over a hundred days a year in the mountains filming, exploring and hunting and I have never seen such herds.”
“We support the proper management of tahr numbers and invite the Conservation Authority to properly engage with us as key stakeholders and work out a solution that doesn’t involve demonising hunters and tahr.”

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