Date: 05 November 2018
DOC had planned to allow air access to the Hooker/Landsborough Wilderness Area, Adams Wilderness area and nine sites in Westland Tai Poutini National Park in January 2019.
Lead operations director for tahr control, Andy Roberts, says feedback from some members of the Tahr Liaison Group suggested January is not the best time for the balloted hunting.
“Feedback suggested hunters would prefer not to undertake tahr control during this time as kids wouldn’t have weaned from their mothers. We also heard from helicopter operators who won’t have capacity to carry hunters due to increased tourism demand for flights,” says Andy Roberts.
“While the South Westland DOC office had the best intentions, we will be cancelling this opportunity based on feedback. The next opportunity for balloted hunting will be in late April next year during the tahr rut.
“The tahr ballot is about authorising aircraft landings on Wilderness areas and the National Park. Keen hunters can undertake recreational hunting on public conservation land anytime during the year.
“We will be continuing to work with the Tahr Liaison Group to identify potential ballot opportunities, where recreational hunters can contribute to tahr control.
“Over the summer months DOC will be focusing on monitoring the size of the tahr population and the damage tahr are causing to precious alpine and sub-alpine vegetation like the Aoraki/Mt Cook lily.
“While our current best estimates put the tahr population on public conservation land at more than 35,000 animals, a third year of population surveys will refine this estimate.
“DOC’s aerial tahr control operation is still on hold while we review following last month’s tragic accident. There is no confirmed date for DOC’s tahr control work to resume but it’s unlikely to be before February next year,” says Andy Roberts.
DOC is committed to working with the hunting sector to over time reduce the tahr population to within the limits of the Himalayan Thar Control Plan 1993.
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