Introduction

DOC has met with the Game Animal Council to discuss where Himalayan tahr control operations will be undertaken this year.

Date:  14 September 2020

DOC recently released its reconsidered Tahr Control Operational Plan for 2020/21. The Game Animal Council has since provided advice to DOC on where the remaining 77 hours of planned control outside the national parks’ management unit could be undertaken.

Operations Director Dr Ben Reddiex says DOC and the Game Animal Council considered two years of operational data, observations from DOC staff and contractors, as well as advice from tahr stakeholders.

“After a very positive discussion with the Game Animal Council, DOC has finalised where the remainder of tahr control will be undertaken this year to protect unique alpine ecosystems and ensure plenty of hunting opportunities remain.”

Outside of the national parks’ management unit, DOC is reallocating some of the 77 remaining control hours to target less accessible areas of the feral range.

“Animal numbers can easily build up in the dense, rugged and scrubby West Coast terrain which is less suitable for ground hunting. For example, we are still regularly finding groups of up to 30 tahr in the Landsborough where access is challenging. We need to protect native ecosystems from the impacts of high tahr densities.

“We are reducing our previously planned control hours within the South Rakaia and Upper Rangitata management unit which is favoured by hunters. We have completed control for the year in the Wills/Makarora/Hunter management unit where tahr numbers are at relatively low densities.

“Outside the national parks’ management unit, DOC is avoiding popular hunting spots and huts, and is instead focusing on less accessible locations where tahr have built up into high densities.”

Dr Ben Reddiex is reminding hunters this is a targeted control programme and there is no plan to eradicate Himalayan tahr from New Zealand.

“Within the feral range, and outside of the national parks’ management unit, we’re only targeting high densities of female and juvenile tahr. We’re also avoiding areas around huts and the ballot landing sites.”

“We will continue to leave identifiable male tahr for hunters outside of the national parks’ management unit. Plans are also progressing to improve hunter access where possible, including extending the popular tahr ballot.”

DOC will continue to update its website with the latest control data and will make it clear once control within a management unit is complete for the year.                                                                                

“Hunters will know with certainty once DOC has moved on. Hunters can also use maps on the DOC website to identify hot spots where identifiable males have been observed during control operations and left behind.”

Over July and August, DOC completed 118 hours of aerial control throughout the feral range. As well as the 77 hours discussed with the Game Animal Council, DOC is undertaking a further 55 hours in the national parks’ management unit.

“We’re also concerned about the geographical spread of tahr, which is why we are targeting the northern and southern points of the feral range. This will be complemented by 145 hours of planned control in the exclusion zones and outside the feral range,” says Dr Ben Reddiex.

Changes to the control programme

Changes to control hours within Himalayan tahr Management Units
Management Units (MU) Total planned hours within the Tahr Control Operational Plan for 2020/21 Approximate hours completed between July and August 2020 Approximate remaining hours to be completed
MU 1:
South Rakaia –
Upper Rangitata
25 12 4
MU 2:
South Whitcombe – Whataroa
25 12.5 23
MU 3: Gammack/Two Thumb 20 11 9
MU 5: Ben Ohau 10 5 9
MU 6: Landsborough 40 20 30
MU 7: Wills/ Makarora/Hunter 20 3.5 0

Map of the tahr feral range and management units (1,158K).

Tahr Control Operations update and links to the decision documents.

Contact

For media enquiries contact:

Email: media@doc.govt.nz

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