South Island Himalayan tahr cull cops anti-aircraft gun

DOC proposes a massive slaughter of tahr on public conservation grounds to keep the numbers under control

Stewart Laing / Delivered

DOC proposes a massive slaughter of tahr on public conservation grounds to keep the numbers under control

Hunters claim that South Canterbury is able to lose a large part of the money if a proposed Conservation Cull or Himalayan Tahr section continues.

DOC wants to remove 10,000 tahr of an estimated 35,000 tahr in public nature areas, including the Aoraki Mt Cook and Westland / Tai Poutini National Parks, over the next 10 months.

The proposal aims to remove 3,000 people tahr and 7,000 "other" tahr, which is a mix of nannies, youths and children from public areas, with the exception of those who have been removed from the national parks Aoraki / Mt Cook and Westland / Tai Poutini. , where there is a goal of "zero density" of tahr.

DOC also cooperates with the Deerstalkers Association in New Zealand, Safari Club International and Game Animal Council, WARO operators and professional mountain guides to remove another 7500 tahr from public nature reserves.

Tom Jones, of Tom Jones Trophy Hunting, whose company regularly leads trophy hunters in the public nature reserve in South Canterbury, said that the slaughter could be the last straw for the commercial hunting industry in the wild.

"I have hardly slept since they first announced the proposed cull on Friday." It looks rather bleak, DOC and the minister have implemented this proposal without really thinking about what it could do for companies like ours, "Jones said.

"It is a billion-dollar industry that is threatened, people come from all over the world to trophy hunting."

According to the DOC tahr management plan, which was ratified in 1993, DOC should limit the number to 10,000 in total.

The spokesperson for the Deerstalkers & # 39; New Zealand, Bill O & # 39; Leary, said that much has changed in the 25 years since the tahr management plan was first ratified.

"You have had a tenure review and places such as Mesopotamia and Lilybank Station have come into crown ownership, as a result of which the area that runs the tahr has increased." The plan also ignores the phenomenal increase in recreational and commercial hunting on the tahr, "he said.

"You look at a whole commercial sector that is threatened, it is both guided hunting and the commercial recovery of animals for meat."

"That's a big chunk of money, and to be honest, a lot of it is tied in your Timaru region to Aoraki / Mt Cook."

O & # 39; Leary said that the organization was especially concerned about the move to deposit significantly.

"We can understand that we should focus on nannies, but if you remove the bull, you run the risk of wiping out an important trophy," he said.

"Bull tahr takes four to eight years to mature, and a reduction in bull animals could run the risk that the hunt loses its attractiveness to a point where the industry may not recover."

"If you remove the bulls, your recreational hunters, your commercial hunters, they all disappear from the market

"A reduction in the number of bulls would not support the current and growing demand of trophy hunters."

Federal Mountain Clubs chairman Peter Wilson said it was unfortunate that it had come to a mass slaughter.

"But this is the legacy of years of underfunding of DOC. It is also the legacy of ignoring, or at least not implementing, a plan that has been around for 25 years," Wilson said.

"We urge DOC to join the recreational hunters and other relevant stakeholders and to go through the problems."

DOC focuses on the Rakaia, Rangitata, Gammack and Two Thumb series with large numbers of tahr.

DOC Eastern South Island operations director Andy Roberts said that the combined effort of DOC, recreational and commercial groups in the past seven years have averaged 4600 tahr per year.

"This combined effort does not keep pace with the breeding frequency, so if no immediate action is taken, the problem will only escalate," Roberts said.

Tahr grazes at high altitudes, in alpine meadows and subalpine bushes, where they feed most intensively on high snow branches and kill entire plants.

Forest and Bird's regional manager for Canterbury, Nicky Snoyink, said she was disappointed with the reaction of the hunting fraternity to the slaughter.

"By leaving the main management of the tahr numbers to the hunting community, the number of people who are no longer in control has increased," Snoyink said.

"Instead of a population of 10,000 animals, we now have a population of more than 35,000 tahr in public nature reserves and probably closer to 50,000 as a non-conservation country – five times the maximum population required by the Tahr Control Plan.

"Although recreational hunting plays a role in the control of pests, it is essential that we do not hand over the management of the protection to the hunters, and time and again we have learned that recreational hunting does not have the task of achieving the desired conservation goals."

"Because of the failures in recreational and commercial hunting in the past, we now have to reduce the tahr figures by 80 percent."

– Stuff

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