1 September 2019 to 30 June 2020 plan
Update June 2020: Forest & Bird has announced it is seeking a High Court declaratory judgment that the Tahr Control Operational Plan for 2019/2020 does not comply with the Himalayan Thar Control Plan 1993, the Wild Animal Control Act 1977 and the National Parks Act 1980. The Department of Conservation intends to defend the proceedings.
The 1 September 2019 to 30 June 2020 plan was developed following meetings between DOC, Ngāi Tahu, and key stakeholders including members of the Tahr Plan Implementation Liaison Group.
The plan saw DOC, recreational and guided hunters, a commercial contractor, WARO and Aerial Assisted Trophy Hunting concessionaires work together to control Himalayan tahr to protect ecologically significant areas such as the national parks.
DOC control focused on protecting Aoraki/Mount Cook and Westland Tai Poutini National Parks from the impacts of a tahr population, while also stopping the tahr feral range from geographically expanding. Under this plan, DOC control took place from 1 September until 14 November 2019.
DOC targeted key areas and nationally significant landscapes and spent 40 hours in the air protecting the national parks as well as another 25 hours in the air controlling the edge of the feral range boundaries.
In all areas, DOC left identifiable male tahr for recreational and commercial hunters to control. Recreational hunters were able to log their control efforts using the Tahr Returns App.
The Tahr Control Operational Plan was designed to work towards reducing tahr populations to the densities required under the Himalayan Tahr Control Plan 1993. It was also designed to protect national parks by moving the number of tahr in the parks towards zero density.
Alongside this, DOC continued to carry out tahr control outside of the feral range to stop the geographical range from expanding. No tahr are allowed to be outside of the feral range.
Tahr control October 2018 to 30 August 2019
DOC worked alongside organised recreational hunters, wild animal recovery operators, a commercial contractor and Aerial Assisted Trophy Hunting concessionaires to control Himalayan tahr and protect the alpine environment of the central South Island.
We collectively made excellent progress to reduce the Himalayan tahr population by 10,000 animals to protect native and iconic plants such as the snow tussock. Maps have been produced which show the location of animals aerially controlled and where males (bulls) were observed. These maps can be used by recreational hunters as they show where control has been carried out and where large numbers of male tahr can be found.