A formal agreement allowing Fiordland deer hunters to manage an animal control programme in the Wapiti Area of Fiordland National Park is to be made official on Monday 19 December 2011.
In a first for New Zealand, the partnership amalgamates conservation goals and the management of deer for recreational hunting into one agreement.
The agreement enables the Fiordland Wapiti Foundation (FWF) to undertake long-term red deer control and stoat trapping programmes under the provisions of the Fiordland National Park Management Plan (2007). FWF have agreed to meet conservation goals as a priority.
“This is the single biggest achievement for recreational hunters in most of their lifetimes,” said Roy Sloan, President of the FWF. “Both organisations need to be commended for their efforts as the signing of this agreement marks a new era of management for the Wapiti Area”.
DOC’s programme manager for Biodiversity Lindsay Wilson said the FWF have been undertaking animal control work in the area in conjunction with DOC since 2005, and the conservation benefits of the Foundation’s long-term commitment are already evident.
Over the last 7 years, recreational hunters have helped fund the removal of over 5000 deer from the Wapiti Area. This allows native plants to regrow while also providing for a manageable Wapiti population for controlled recreational hunting.
“This agreement is a win for both conservation and recreation,” Mr Wilson said.
“We have around 70 kilometres of predator control lines for both stoats and rats,” said Roy Sloan, President of the FWF. “The number of whio/blue ducks has increased, and in 2010, in conjunction with DOC, we raised and released 13 whio/blue ducks back into the area.”
This management agreement has come about through the FWF successfully applying to DOC for a joint community programme under the Fiordland National Park Management Plan.
The Foundation and DOC will be signing the document at a formal function in Te Anau on the evening of 19 December.