News

NZCA MISREPRESENTS TAHR HUNTING SECTOR

21 July 2020
NZCA MISREPRESENTS TAHR HUNTING SECTOR 
FOR IMMEDIATE USE

“Statements from New Zealand Conservation Authority Chair Edward Ellison that imply tahr hunting is simply a niche tourism industry are highly inaccurate,” says 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 Mr Ellison that this is far from some niche tourism industry. Tahr mean a great deal to tens of thousands of New Zealanders,” says the Tahr Foundation’s Willie Duley.

“Aerial Assisted Trophy Hunting that Mr 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.”

“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 This needs to be done as part of a thorough review of the out-of-date 1993 Himalayan Tahr Control Plan so we can put this almost-annual conflict behind us,” says Duley.
 

ENDS
CONTACT:
Tahr Foundation Spokesperson - Willie Duley: 0273338424 / willie@nztf.org.nz / www.nztf.org.nz

DOC RESTARTS TAHR CULL BEFORE CONSULTATION

DOC RESTARTS TAHR CULL BEFORE CONSULTATION

17 July 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE USE

DOC have begun killing tahr in Aoraki/Mt Cook and Westland Tai Poutini National Parks before undertaking consultation with the hunting sector and it is another kick in the guts says the NZ Tahr Foundation.

The killing of bull tahr in Aoraki/Mt Cook and Westland Tai Poutini National Parks has always been the most controversial part of the culling programme.

“Mature bull tahr in our national parks are the ultimate recreational and commercial resource and worth up to $14,000 each to the economy so we are quite frustrated that DOC have chosen to do this part of the operation before consultation has begun,” says the Tahr Foundation’s Willie Duley.

“While we acknowledge that last week’s High Court decision gave DOC the right to begin culling before consultation, we hoped they would have given the hunting sector the chance to have a say before starting with the national parks.”

“Tahr hunters regard Aoraki/Mt Cook and Westland Tai Poutini National Parks as the pinnacle of the Kiwi alpine hunting experience. To have this taken away without even being consulted is a very bitter pill to swallow.”

“Contrary to what DOC claims, there is no conservation imperative for this, especially to target bulls as the bulls don’t have kids. This will have a far bigger impact on peoples’ livelihoods than what DOC are suggesting. They have not even considered the effects on the huge recreational hunting sector and the retail industries that rely on it”

“It would have been an act of good faith for DOC to have prioritised the control work outside the feral range that all stakeholders agree needs to happen. That is uncontroversial and vital to preventing tahr spreading to surrounding landscapes,” says Duley.

“We are also worried that many recreational tahr hunters and other backcountry users currently in the mountains are unaware DOC have restarted their helicopter culling operations. We have had contact with local operators that have hunters potentially in close proximity to tahr in and around the national parks, that are concerned at the safety risk this presents.”
DOC’s restarting of culling operations brings into stark focus just how important it is that the long-out-of-date 1993 Himalayan Tahr Control Plan is reviewed and an acceptable long-term management strategy put in place.

“I’m sure I can speak for all stakeholders when I say we are sick of the almost annual conflict that the 1993 Plan and DOC’s failure to review it has created,” says Duley.

“The 1993 Plan was put in place as a best-guess at a time when little information was really known about tahr in our alpine environment. The intention stated within the Plan was for it to be reviewed and updated as more science and information was developed.”

“DOC have never undertaken the proper research on vegetation impacts, herd densities and the contributions of recreational and commercial hunting that are necessary to inform future management. Instead they focus on short-term culling programmes like what is happening right now that pit the various stakeholders against each other.”

“The reality is that there is a huge amount of common ground among stakeholders. We all agree that tahr must be eradicated outside their feral range, we all accept that some form of management is required and yet we also know that tahr are an extremely precious recreational and commercial resource,” says Duley. 

“Those are solid foundations to build an enduring management regime upon.”
Over 50,000 people have signed the Tahr Foundation’s petition calling for a halt to the cull and hundreds are expected at the hunter-led Tahr Jam protest drive from Lake Pukaki to Aoraki/Mt Cook on Sunday. 

ENDS

CONTACT:

Tahr Foundation Spokesperson - Willie Duley: 0273338424 / willie@nztf.org.nz

Tahr Foundation President – Snow Hewetson: 0274122772

 

WHAT TAHR MEAN TO US AND WHY WE FIGHT FOR THEM

WHAT TAHR MEAN TO US AND WHY WE FIGHT FOR THEM

12 July 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE USE

The Tahr Foundation has released a short video that shows just what Himalayan tahr mean to Kiwis and why so many people are fighting so hard to maintain them in New Zealand.

The video is a powerful reminder of the extent that tahr are now woven into the fabric of everyday New Zealand life. 
New Zealand’s Tahr – They Are Us is available at https://youtu.be/SQyEwlgYSB4 

“From people that work in the hunting industry and make a living from these animals to those from all other walks of life that just love spending time in the mountains amongst them, this video shows just how much tahr mean to so many Kiwis,” says Tahr Foundation Spokesperson Willie Duley. 

“For the professional and recreational hunters, climbers, trampers, school teachers, sportsmen, helicopter operators and families that appear in this video, tahr not only enhance their experience in the mountains but in many cases are the reason for it.”

“We also want to see tahr properly managed and our alpine flora and fauna preserved because those of us who love the mountain environment and spend so much of our time there have the greatest stake in looking after it.” 

“Despite our win in the High Court which confirmed DOC had not properly consulted with us, it is still extremely disappointing that they have been allowed to carry on in the interim with 125 hours of culling and the eradication of all tahr including bulls in Aoraki/Mt Cook and Westland Tai Poutini National Parks.”

“This interim culling still has the potential to decimate the tahr resource and the livelihoods of thousands, which is exactly what we have been fighting against and will continue to do so until an agreement is reached” says Duley.

“We feel the Minister and DOC are riding rough-shod over those of us with an interest in tahr, and the people that appear in this video and the near 50,000 others that have signed our petition are asking that their voice be heard.”

“It’s time this almost annual conflict was ended, and we’re given the opportunity to sit down with all stakeholders and constructively work together.” 

“The Tahr Foundation wants to work with DOC and the Game Animal Council to come up with an enduring management strategy that fits with the realities of modern New Zealand and will work for both recreation and conservation. This is neither impossible nor too much to ask.” 

ENDS

CONTACT:

Tahr Foundation Spokesperson - Willie Duley: 0273338424 / willie@nztf.org.nz 

Tahr Foundation President – Snow Hewetson: 0274122772

HUNTING GUIDES WELCOME HIGH COURT DECISION ON DOC’S TAHR PLAN

HUNTING GUIDES WELCOME HIGH COURT DECISION ON DOC’S TAHR PLAN

10 July 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE USE

The Professional Hunting Guides Association is welcoming the High Court decision on DoC’s controversial tahr campaign.

The High Court in Wellington was asked on Wednesday by the Tahr Foundation for a judicial review of DoC’s plan to kill thousands of Himalayan Tahr in the Southern Alps.

In a decision released this afternoon, the court ruled in the Tahr Foundation’s favour over the lack of consultation with hunting groups.

Professional Hunting Guides Association president James Cagney says the decision is a huge relief.

“Allowing DoC to go ahead with its plan would have been a body blow for our industry and threatened hundreds of businesses and jobs which rely heavily on hunting tahr to survive,” Mr Cagney says.

“Tahr hunting pumps tens of millions of dollars into our remote rural communities every year and DoC was going to remove that much-needed income, just when we needed it most because of the Covid crisis.

“We are pleased common-sense has prevailed.”

James Cagney says what is needed now is to DoC to properly consult with the hunting sector.

“We have had enough of court cases.  It would have been much easier for DoC to sit down with us in the first place and recreational hunters and agree on a workable plan to reduce tahr numbers and properly manage this unique herd,” he says.

“These animals are worth tens of millions of dollars to our economy and livelihoods and support small businesses and hundreds of individual jobs. 

“It is not right for a government organisation to unthinkingly wipe out these jobs without any consideration.  The South Island has already suffered enough from job losses this week with news of the Tiwai Smelter closure.  We don’t need any more misery.”

ENDS

CONTACT:

Professional Hunting Guides Association president James Cagney    027 450 7280

TAHR FOUNDATION WELCOMES LANDMARK HIGH COURT DECISION ON DOC’S CONTROVERSIAL EXTERMINATION PLAN

TAHR FOUNDATION WELCOMES LANDMARK HIGH COURT DECISION ON DOC’S CONTROVERSIAL EXTERMINATION PLAN

10 July 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE USE

The Tahr Foundation is welcoming the High Court decision halting DOC’s controversial plan to kill thousands of tahr through the Southern Alps.

The Foundation asked the High Court for a judicial review of DOC’s plan to exterminate all Himalayan Tahr in national parks and sharply reduce tahr populations in other areas.

The application was heard in the High Court in Wellington on Wednesday and Justice Dobson has just released his decision this afternoon.

In the decision, Justice Dobson says that DOC is to reconsider its decision to proceed with the 2020-2021 plan after consulting with interests represented by the Foundation and other stakeholders.

Until consultation and a further decision have been completed, DOC can only undertake half of the 250 hours provided for in the 2020-2021 plan.

Tahr Foundation Spokesman Willie Duley is welcoming the decision as a victory for common sense.

“This is a landmark decision.  It recognised the considerable gaps in DOC’s process, the lack of consideration for stakeholders affected and will stop the decimation of the tahr herd and save jobs,” Willie Duley says.

“Just as importantly, Justice Dobson recognised that recreational hunters are legitimate stakeholders and have the right to not only be properly consulted by DOC, but also have their views properly considered.”

“DOC tried to ride roughshod over the commercial and recreational hunting sector and their token consultation was a sham.” 

“If they had been allowed to get away with this, future consultation on any issue would have become meaningless and that has serious implications for all conservation stakeholders and outdoor recreation groups.”

He says public support to stop DOC’s cull is soaring.

“The petition to stop DOC going ahead with the tahr kill is approaching 50,000 signatures while the Give a Little campaign has raised $135,000.  It shows the depth of feeling there is against this senseless slaughter.” 

Willie Duley says in the wake of the High Court decision, the Tahr Foundation is offering to work with DOC and the Game Animal Council, the statutory body responsible for game animals like tahr, to come up with a suitable tahr management plan.

“We have always accepted the need to properly manage tahr numbers and recreational hunters have made a huge contribution to reducing populations, even though DOC refused in court to acknowledge that,” Willie Duley says.

“Hundreds of jobs and a multi-million-dollar industry rely on tahr, let alone the recreational aspirations of tens of thousands of recreational hunters.”

“We just want to be listened to and are happy to sit down with DOC, the Game Animal Council and others to thrash out a workable tahr management plan.”

ENDS

CONTACT:

Tahr Foundation Spokesperson - Willie Duley: 0273338424 / willie@nztf.org.nz

Tahr Foundation President – Snow Hewetson: 0274122772

Tahr Foundation day in court

On behalf of all New Zealand hunters, the NZ Tahr Foundation went to the High Court in Wellington yesterday for a judicial review of DOC's plans to mount a determined effort to radically reduce tahr numbers in the Southern Alps, including exterminating them in National Parks.

The case attracted considerable media and public attention and there was standing room only in the public gallery when the case started, with extra seats having to be brought in to accommodate the numbers. Those attending included the hunting community, with guides, the NZ Tahr Foundation, Deerstalkers Association and individual hunters all present.

The case was heard by Justice Dobson, with the Tahr Foundation's legal team headed by QC Jack Hodder.

Mr Hodder told the court that DOC's 2020-21 operational plan was unlawful and unfair and that hunters had not been properly consulted.

He said it would have an adverse impact on the guiding sector of the tourism industry and the plan should be quashed.

He asked that the number of tahr DOC wants to kill should be reconsidered and the hunting sector properly consulted.

DOC's case was argued by David Laurenson QC who downplayed the contribution recreational hunters make to control tahr numbers and said that the National Parks Act required DOC to exterminate tahr within National Parks.

Justice Dobson quizzed both legal teams, asking for greater explanation of their claims. The case ran the whole day and Justice Dobson reserved his decision.

He is expected to deliver it by next week, possibly as early as this Friday evening.

Meanwhile, support for the Tahr Petition continues to grow, with the number of people who have signed now approaching 50,000.

If you haven't signed, go here now and add your signature to the growing list (note - don't donate here).

https://www.change.org/p/department-of-conservation-request…

And while you are at it, consider contributing to the Give A Little campaign so we can continue the fight to save these magnificent game animals. To throw a few dollars in the pot, click this link; https://givealittle.co.nz/cause/nztf

To highlight the issue, a peaceful protest is being planned in the heart of tahr country next weekend and the event is already getting media publicity; .

https://www.stuff.co.nz/…/hundreds-expected-to-join-convoy-…

PETITION TO STOP TAHR EXTERMINATION NEARS 40,000 SIGNATURES

TAHR FOUNDATION MEDIA RELEASE

PETITION TO STOP TAHR EXTERMINATION NEARS 40,000 SIGNATURES

5 July 2020

For Immediate Use

The campaign to stop the Department of Conservation exterminating tahr in national parks is gathering increasing public support, with nearly 40,000 people signing the petition calling for a halt to DOC’s plans.

The Change.org petition was started on Monday evening, shortly after revelations the Department of Conservation was planning a mass killing of thousands of tahr through the Southern Alps, including all animals in national parks.

The petition asks DOC “to halt the 2020-21 tahr cull and review the Himalayan Tahr Control Plan.”

The public is also contributing significantly to the Give A Little campaign to raise funds to fight the DOC plan, with nearly $70,000 raised so far.

Tahr Foundation spokesperson Willie Duley says the response is gratifying.

“Gathering 40,000 signatures in less than a week is terrific – the number of people signing just keeps growing and shows the very real opposition out there to DOC’s plans,” he says.

“Tourism operators are also opposing the mass kill because they stand to lose significant income just when they need it most because of the Covid crisis.

“More than 500 jobs and the futures of 160 businesses are on the line because of DOC’s short-sighted plan, and those operators need government help to save those jobs.”

Willie Duley says donations are also flooding in to the Give A Little page set up to help fund the Tahr Foundation’s legal battle to protect tahr, with nearly $70,000 raised so far.

The High Court will this week hear a Tahr Foundation application for an interim injunction to stop DOC’s mass tahr kill.

The application will be heard on Wednesday in the High Court in Wellington.

ENDS

CONTACT:

Tahr Foundation spokesperson

Willie Duley: +64273338424 / willie@nztf.org.nz

Link to Change.Org petition to save the Tahr  http://chng.it/yjp9f2RJcy

Link to Give A Little Page  https://givealittle.co.nz/cause/nztf

HUNTERS ASK CONSERVATION AUTHORITY TO WORK FOR ALL NEW ZEALANDERS

TAHR FOUNDATION MEDIA RELEASE

HUNTERS ASK CONSERVATION AUTHORITY TO WORK FOR ALL NEW ZEALANDERS

3 July 2020

For Immediate Use

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.”

ENDS

CONTACT:

Tahr Foundation spokesperson

Willie Duley: +64273338424 / willie@nztf.org.nz

Link to Change.Org petition to save the Tahr  http://chng.it/yjp9f2RJcy

Link to Give A Little Page  https://givealittle.co.nz/cause/nztf

 

OVERWHELMING PUBLIC SUPPORT TO STOP MASS KILLLING OF TAHR

Tahr Foundation Media Release

OVERWHELMING PUBLIC SUPPORT TO STOP MASS KILLLING OF TAHR

2 July 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE USE

Tens of thousands of New Zealanders are signing a petition to stop DOC’s plans for a mass killing of tahr in the Southern Alps.

The Change.org petition was started on Monday evening, shortly after revelations the Department of Conservation was planning a mass killing of thousands of tahr, including all animals in national parks.

The petition asks DOC “to halt the 2020-21 tahr cull and review the Himalayan Tahr Control Plan.”

Tahr Foundation spokesperson Willie Duley says the reaction to the petition is overwhelming.

“This is an amazing response – the petition got more than 20,000 signatures in the first 24 hours.  And the figures just keep going up – overnight, people kept signing and this morning the total is nearing 30,000.”

“This level of support from tens of thousands of people shows the depth of feeling there is about DOC’s plans and the wide opposition that exists to the planned decimation of this highly valuable herd.”

“It also demonstrates the huge respect and admiration people have for these magnificent wild animals,” Willie Duley says.

DOC put its tahr kill plan into effect yesterday, but the Tahr Foundation has gone to the High Court asking for an interim injunction to stop the extermination campaign.

The Tahr Foundation has also started a Give A Little page for people to donate money to help fund the legal battle and Willie Duley says that has also seen a good response with $29,000 donated in just two days.

“Tahr are highly valued and people don’t want to see them wiped out.  They are prepared to open their wallets and assist us pay for legal help to stop DOC and we are hugely grateful for that generosity,” he says.

“DOC’s plan is extreme and just not necessary.  In the last two years, the number of tahr living in the alps has been nearly halved from 35,000 to 20,000.  Of those left, only 5,000 are breeding nannies so the impact on the environment has been significantly reduced.”

ENDS

CONTACT:

Tahr Foundation spokesperson

Willie Duley: +64273338424 / willie@nztf.org.nz

Link to Change.Org petition to save the Tahr  http://chng.it/yjp9f2RJcy

Link to Give A Little Page  https://givealittle.co.nz/cause/nztf

MASS KILLING OF TAHR DEVASTATING FOR TOURISM INDUSTRY

Media Release – Professional Hunting Guides Association

MASS KILLING OF TAHR DEVASTATING FOR TOURISM INDUSTRY

2 July 2020

For immediate release

Tourism industry operators are pleading for the government to halt DoC’s plan for a mass killing of Himalayan Tahr, saying the animals provide hundreds of jobs and a multi-million dollar benefit to the country.

Under a controversial 2020-21 plan which came into effect yesterday, DoC will significantly increase the number of tahr it kills, including exterminating all animals in national parks.

The Tahr Foundation has asked the High Court for an injunction to stop DoC going ahead with the mass slaughter.

Tahr hunting makes a highly valuable contribution to the South Island economy, bringing in tens of millions of tourist dollars every year.  The industry sustains hundreds of local jobs, including guides, accommodation and helicopter operators and retailers.

The Professional Hunting Guides Association says its members are shocked by DoC’s decision to kill much of the tahr resource they rely on.

Guides Association President James Cagney says the news has sent them reeling.

“This plan is a real blow.  It would effectively decimate the tahr population in the Southern Alps and if successful will throw hundreds of people out of work,” Mr Cagney says.

“What DoC is planning couldn’t have come at a worse time.  The Covid pandemic has already hit our industry hard and now with no disclosure of the draft plan during consultation, DoC is going to make things even worse.

“We wanted help from the government to see us through this rough patch but instead what we have got are plans to decimate our livelihood,” he says.

James Cagney says the Guides’ Association will be writing to the Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis, the Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Employment Minister Willie Jackson asking for help.

“Tourism is our lifeblood and we need help to stop this plan to ensure that a viable tahr resource remains when our booked and rescheduled international hunting clients return when the borders reopen and save hundreds of jobs,” Mr Cagney says.

 

“Mr Robertson is also the Minister for Recreation, so he can help on that front too because thousands of New Zealanders go tahr hunting every year.  If DoC is allowed to go ahead with its tahr killing plan, that source of healthy recreation will be eliminated along with the tahr.”

The Guides Association says they will also be asking Tourism New Zealand and Tourism Industry Aotearoa for help to preserve their industry.

ENDS

CONTACT:  

Professional Hunting Guides Association President James Cagney  0274507280

ANGER AT DOC’S “SHAM CONSULTATION”

TAHR FOUNDATION MEDIA RELEASE

ANGER AT DOC’S “SHAM CONSULTATION” OVER TAHR SLAUGHTER PLANS

1 JULY 2020

FOR IMMEMDIATE USE

The Tahr Foundation is condemning the Department of Conservation for what it describes as DOC’s “sham consultation” over plans to kill thousands of Himalayan tahr.

DOC’s kill operation is due to start today but the final version of its plan was only released just before midnight, minutes before it came into force. The plan confirms that DOC aims to exterminate tahr from national parks and kill thousands more through the Southern Alps.

The Tahr Foundation says that is outrageous and confirms that the already suspect consultation process was a farce.

Foundation spokesperson Willie Duley says DOC’s tactics are cynical.

“This is a slap in the face for the outdoor community.  We were already upset that DOC dumped the original plan on us without notice and limited the consultation to two days,” Mr Duley says.

“To then drop the final unchanged plan on us minutes before it was due to come into force is unacceptable and proves the so-called consultation was nothing more than a scam designed to exploit our goodwill.

“DOC’s actions are an abuse of good faith.”

Willie Duley warns that there will be a backlash over DOC’s actions.

“The whole hunting community is incredibly angry over what DOC is doing.  We are supposed to be stakeholders and have already proved our willingness to work with DOC, yet that collaborative approach is being thrown back in our faces,” he says.

“This betrayal just confirms that DOC has been developing an extermination policy behind our backs.  What’s worse is they have been misleading the public by deliberately using false tahr population numbers to try and justify what they are doing.”

The Tahr Foundation says it now even more determined to challenge DOC’s actions in court.

“We have been overwhelmed by the generosity of the outdoor community donating money to fund our fight. We owe it every donor to challenge this outrageous and underhanded decision in the courts,” Mr Duley says.

ENDS

CONTACT:

Tahr Foundation spokesperson

Willie Duley: +64273338424 / willie@nztf.org.nz   

DOC announces tahr cull at eleventh hour

NZ Game Animal CouncilNZGAC

Media Statement                                                       

1 July 2020

DOC announces tahr cull at eleventh hour

The Game Animal Council is extremely disappointed at DOC’s failure to carry out meaningful consultation with the hunting sector when it comes to managing tahr. 

“We, along with other members of the Tahr Plan Implementation Liaison Group, received the final Tahr Control Plan from DOC at 11.03pm last night, just hours before operations were due to start,” says Game Animal Council Chair Don Hammond.

“Only 2 days was provided for consultation. The final plan being released minutes before it comes into effect and with almost no change from the original version indicates a pre-determined outcome and the hunting sector was not intended to be part of the Plan development process.”

“It is therefore not surprising that the Tahr Foundation have sought intervention from the courts.”

The final Plan includes triple the amount of helicopter culling within the feral range along with the removal of all tahr, including mature bulls, from Aoraki/Mt Cook and Westland Tai Poutini National Parks.

“If the operations are completed, they will devastate tahr hunting in New Zealand,” says Hammond.

The Plan also states that DOC will work with stakeholders to develop a research and monitoring programme.

“They have been telling us of the need for a plan for research and monitoring for two years now and nothing has happened,” says Hammond. “While development of a plan for research is vital, it is the implementation phase of that plan that needs to get underway urgently. The risk is further delays will mean there are very few tahr left to monitor anyway.”

“This will have huge impacts on both the recreational and commercial hunting sectors just when we need all the jobs we can muster.” 

“It is a sad day, not just for hunting in New Zealand, but also for the principle of proper consultation by government agencies.”

Contact:

Don Hammond
Phone 0274885940
don.hammond@nzgac.org.nz

Disingenuous figures deliberate attempt to mislead public on tahr

New Zealand Tahr Foundation

Media Statement

30 June 2020

Disingenuous figures deliberate attempt to mislead public on tahr

The Tahr Foundation says it is extremely disappointed supporters of the plan to decimate tahr herds are misleading the public by deliberately using out of date tahr population figures.

The Tahr Foundation has applied for a High Court injunction to halt the Minister of Conservation’s plan to decimate New Zealand’s remaining tahr herd.

The mass kill is due to start on 1 July.

Foundation spokesperson Willie Duley says Forest and Bird are being disingenuous by continuing to use out-dated figures to back the killing.

Willie Duley says despite knowing better, our opponents are persisting with their claims that there are 35,000 tahr on public conservation land.

“That just isn’t true,” says Mr Duley.

“That figure dates back to 2018. Since then, hunters have stepped in and helped DOC reduce tahr numbers to an estimated total of 20,000 animals with a breeding nanny population of only around 5,000.” 

Willie Duley says Forest and Bird are well aware of this significant reduction in the tahr herd but continue to use the outdated figures to strengthen their case.

“The Tahr Foundation respects Forest and Bird and the good work it does helping to conserve New Zealand’s indigenous species, but we cannot let this kind of misinformation go unchallenged.”

“It is an attempt to totally mislead New Zealanders by peddling numbers that no longer exist.” 

“We want to see future tahr management based on sound science, the facts and taking into account the values of all stakeholders,” says Mr Duley.

NZ Tahr Foundation contact:

Willie Duley: +64273338424 / willie@nzhunter.co.nz 

TAHR FOUNDATION GOES TO COURT TO STOP DOC CULL

Press Release

TAHR FOUNDATION GOES TO COURT TO STOP DOC PLAN TO KILL THOUSANDS OF TAHR

PRESS RELEASE

JUNE 29th 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE USE

Hunters are asking the High Court for an urgent injunction to stop the Department of Conservation going ahead with a new plan to kill highly valued Himalayan bull tahr in national parks and other areas of the Southern Alps

The application for an injunction was filed in the High Court in Wellington on Friday of last week.

DoC’s new plan is due to come into force on July 1 and would target all tahr including mature bulls in national parks.  It would also triple the number of helicopter hours being funded to kill all tahr wherever they range.

Until now, the tahr control plan previously agreed with hunters has only killed female and juvenile tahr.

The Tahr Foundation says DoC’s plan is unacceptable and it has been left no choice but to go to court to try and stop it being implemented.

 “Tahr are magnificent animals but they will be decimated if DoC is allowed to go ahead with a control plan of this magnitude.  There will effectively be no tahr resource left in national parks,” says Tahr Foundation spokesperson Willie Duley.

“DoC’s plan has been drawn up without involving hunters and then at the last minute, we have been given just two days to look at it,” he says.

“This is not proper consultation - it is a token effort.  Hunters are key stakeholders in this process and we want the courtesy of DoC engaging with us in good faith.

“We know tahr numbers need to be managed, and in the last three years, we have collectively reduced herd numbers by over 18,000 animals,” Mr Duley says.

“The benefit of this approach is that DoC achieved the agreed reduction in tahr numbers thanks to good stakeholder involvement, and hunters actively helped reduce herd numbers saving the taxpayer purse.”

Willie Duley says in 1993, the Himalayan Thar Control Plan set an introductory herd limit of 10,000 tahr and also required ongoing reviews and scientific research.

“The Plan required DoC to scientifically establish the number of tahr which did not exceed acceptable levels of browse, while still providing a viable hunting resource. Over the last 27 years, they have never done this, nor reviewed the Plan as is also required,” he says.

“Until this is done, we will continue to have this ongoing conflict between stakeholders.”

Willie Duley says tahr are highly valued by hunters and make a significant economic contribution to South Island regions where they live.

“Tahr are magnificent animals, living in fantastic scenic locations.  They are a treasure, a holy grail for kiwi hunters who respect them and want the chance to pursue them,” he says.

“These hunters make a valuable contribution to South Island businesses.  Covid-19 has hit these businesses hard. With tourist hunting at a standstill, the money kiwi tahr hunters are injecting into the local economy is keeping these operations going and saving jobs.”

The Tahr Foundation was established in 2016 to ensure tahr are properly managed and to represent hunters’ interests. 

The Himalayan Tahr is near threatened in its homeland and the herd in New Zealand is the only significant and readily huntable free range population outside the Himalayan Mountains.

ENDS

TAHR FOUNDATION CONTACTS

Willie Duley: +64273338424 / willie@nzhunter.co.nz

 

 

Tahr Liaison Group update

 

  • Recreational hunting
    • The recreational hunting returns on the DOC website as at 8 April 2019 are shown in the table below.

Tahr Returns April 2019

    • Following the Tahr Liaison Group meeting in March the Tahr Foundation and DOC facilitated five groups to undertake recreational hunting in South Westland (as a result from the opportunity being discussed at the meeting).  Work is underway on how these opportunities could be extended in the future.
    • The Tahr Foundation, NZDA and GAC are working together on a verification approach for recreational hunting.  The purpose of that work has been agreed as ‘to provide an assessment of publicly available hunting apps that could be trialled by recreational hunters to record tahr kills’.
  • Tahr research and monitoring
    • Tahr Liaison Group members have been invited to the GAC and DOC hosted workshop on 9 May.  The purpose of the workshop is ‘To identify the key research and monitoring questions for effectively implementing the 1993 Himalayan Thar Control Plan: What do we know and what do we need to know about?’.  Reminder to please respond to both Geoff Kerr and James Holborow on attendance.
    • The Department has commissioned a short report from Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research to support context setting at that workshop – the purpose is ‘To provide a concise overview of the current state of tahr knowledge’. Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research may be in touch with some of you for information to support their work.
  • DOC tahr control
    • The Department has commenced work in the Northern exclusion zone – where judas tahr have been a key tool in that control work. DOC work from now through to the end of June will concentrate on the Northern and Southern Exclusion zones and other pockets of animals beyond the defined feral range – important work to prevent range expansion.
    • No DOC control has been undertaken in the management units since the announcement of the tahr programme recommencing (and will not until 1 July). I have heard of anecdotal reports of some helicopter hunting - any activity in the management units will be from AATH operators or Zero Invasive Predators undertaking tahr recovery (limited numbers of tahr as advised at the Tahr Liaison Group meeting).
    • The majority of the 10,000 tahr to be controlled by 30 August 2019 will occur over July and August 2019. DOC has been working on the detail of that, which may include tahr control from a range of known and potential sources (i.e., organised recreational hunting; AATH trophies; AATH offsets; tahr carcass recovery – WARO; contract control; and DOC control).
  • Vegetation report
    • At the Tahr Liaison Group meeting it was noted that a report on ‘ Potential of Tier One and alternative monitoring networks to assess the ecological integrity of alpine vegetation exposed to tahr grazing’ had been completed. I was waiting on the development of a summary report and factsheet – this will be available next week (slightly later than I had hoped).  I will provide copies to the Tahr Liaison Group of the three documents next week – they will also be useful context for the research and monitoring workshop.
  • Post 30 August 2019
    • As previously stated the Department will lead a process for the development of the approach for tahr management post 30 August 2019. We will certainly be working with the Tahr Liaison Group as part of that – more detail on how we can work together on this to come shortly.
  • Tahr abundance monitoring
    • As outlined at the Tahr Liaison Group meeting aerial surveys have been undertaken over the last 6 weeks across public conservation land. LINZ and DOC are working with crown pastoral leaseholders to undertake aerial surveys on crown pastoral land.

1080 pest control on tahr populations research.

Game Animal Council and Zero Invasive Predators joint research project into the effects of 1080 pest control on tahr populations.

On Saturday 13 April, during the initial stages of toxic baiting, 14 radio-tagged tahr, were present in the operational area. Further rounds of Sky Ranger monitoring were carried out, on Tuesday 16, Thursday 18, and Monday 22 April. All 14 tahr were found alive in the operational area during each round of post-toxin monitoring.

For further information please go to:

http://zip.org.nz/updates/2019/4/update-on-perth-river-valley-predator-removal-operation-phase-one-completed

Press Release - Hunters stand up but won’t be counted

NZ Tahr Foundation
Media Statement

7 March 2019

...

Hunters stand up but won’t be counted

Following the halt to the Department of Conservation’s tahr control operations in October last year recreational hunters have taken up the charge and removed a large number of tahr with approximately 1000 having been registered on the DOC website.

“The decision by the Department of Conservation to ignore the efforts of recreational hunters in removing a large number of tahr from the Southern Alps is very disappointing” said Snow Hewetson spokesperson for the NZ Tahr Foundation.

DOC requested that hunters log the tahr killed on their website specifically set up for this purpose and hunters have done as instructed, but these kills will now not be counted in the total of 10,000 tahr to be culled prior to the end of August this year. “This is slap in the face for the many recreational hunters who, at their own cost, got out in the mountains and killed tahr. Despite this we still want all hunters to continue their good work and log their kills on the website.”

The NZ Tahr Foundation worked cooperatively and in good faith with DOC through the Tahr Liaison Group process to arrive at a plan for removing 10,000 tahr even though the actual tahr population on public land is unknown with the best estimate being between 24,000 and 48,000. At the recent Tahr Liaison Group meeting recreational hunters, hunting guides and WARO reaffirmed their commitment to remove as many tahr as they can to assist DOC.

Southern Alps Meats put a proposal to DOC to shoot all the required tahr and recover the carcasses of as many as possible for the export market. Southern Alps meats has recovered and processed approximately 2000 tahr in the last 2 years at zero cost to the tax payer. They include some of New Zealand’s most experienced helicopter hunters operating from Kaikoura to Te Anau. The company would turn animals that would otherwise be left to rot into export meat from New Zealand’s Southern Alps. The New Zealand Tahr foundation would like to see the Department work with these operators and recover as many tahr as possible.

“DOC has stated publicly that they are committed to working with the recreational and commercial hunting sector to achieve the 10,000 total. We want to see that commitment actually put into practise and we will be monitoring closely what DOC does going forward” said Snow Hewetson.

Contact:
Snow Hewetson
Spokesperson NZ Tahr Foundation
Tel: 0274122772
Email: snow@nztf.org.nz