Tahr herd

Image: Scott Theobold | DOC

Introduction

DOC is working with the hunting sector and the Tahr Plan Implementation Liaison Group to over time reduce the size of the tahr population back within the limits of the Himalayan Thar Control Plan 1993.

Highlights

This webpage will be updated with new information throughout the control programme.

March 2019: DOC’s Himalayan tahr control work, vital to protecting the unique alpine landscapes of the South Island, resumes the week starting 4 March 2019. DOC will continue working with the hunting community to reduce tahr on conservation land. Read a media release.

The Tahr Control Operational Plan 2018-19 (see below) will be followed as per the plan in October 2018, other than the timeframes for when the majority of tahr control will be undertaken. These have been reduced to March-April and then July-August 2019.

October 2018: DOC released its Tahr Control Operational Plan for October 2018 – 31 August 2019 which identifies how it will work with the hunting sector to reduce tahr numbers in the central South Island.(this was put on hold from mid-October 2018 to March 2019. See March 2019 update above). 

tahr-feral-range-map-390.jpg
Tahr feral range map. View a larger map (PDF, 984K)

The Operational Plan was developed following a series of meetings with representatives of the Tahr Plan Implementation Liaison Group (TPILG) and includes ideas from the hunting sector on the best way to, over time, reduce numbers.

The operational plan is the first step towards reducing tahr numbers to within the limits of the Himalayan Thar Control Plan 1993.

Within this statutory plan the total tahr population has to be under 10,000 across the total tahr feral range. This includes public conservation land, as well as tahr on Crown pastoral leases and private land.

Related links

Planning to hunt tahr recreationally?

We would like to record the efforts of recreational hunters to reduce the tahr population. Your hunting effort and observations can help inform the management of tahr.

To make it easy to capture this information, we have created a short online form for you to send in your hunting returns. 

Tahr hunting returns online form 

Additional information

What is the Himalayan Thar Control Plan 1993?

The Himalayan Tahr Control Plan is a statutory document made under section 5(1)(d) of the Wild Animal Control Act 1977. It enables DOC to undertake official control to reduce tahr numbers when recreational, guided hunting and commercial hunting have not been able to keep tahr below the maximum number allowed. This plan was agreed to by the Tahr Liaison Group in 1993. 

Why are tahr being controlled?

DOC monitoring has estimated the Himalayan tahr population on public conservation land alone totals more than 35,000 animals (this estimate does not include tahr on Crown pastoral leases and private land). The estimate is more than the 10,000 allowed within the Himalayan Thar Control Plan.

Monitoring of the alpine and sub-alpine vegetation is showing tahr are having a significant impact. 

How will the control take place?

The Tahr Control Operational Plan identifies:

  • where and how DOC will carry out control work
  • the expected efforts and actions of the hunting sector to assist reduction of tahr numbers in high priority areas
  • how DOC can support the sector
  • opportunities for the hunting sector to organise themselves to coordinate their efforts across the feral range to assist in lowering the population
  • DOC’s ‘business-as-usual’ control in the Northern and Southern Exclusion Zones and outside of the feral range.

Note: DOC’s Operational Plan does not identify how tahr should be controlled on Crown pastoral leases and private land as DOC’s priority is to reduce tahr numbers on public conservation land.

Phased management approach

The phased management approach will ensure the Himalayan Thar Control Plan is implemented, to achieve its purpose over time. There will be ongoing Tahr Liaison Group meetings to share information and support decision making.

What control will DOC be doing?

The highest priority areas for DOC control are areas of public conservation land inside the Management Units of the Himalayan Thar Control Plan. The areas are:

  • Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park
  • Westland/Tai Poutini National Park
  • Te Wahipounamu World Heritage Area
  • Wilderness Areas
  • High value conservation areas
  • Areas that are difficult to access for recreational hunters
  • Areas that feed tahr into exclusion zones.

The control of male tahr, by DOC, within the feral range

Within the management units of the Himalayan Thar Control Plan, DOC will prioritise the control of female and juvenile tahr. DOC will not deliberately target identifiable male tahr - however some males may inadvertently be removed as part of control operations. This data will be openly reported. DOC expects other stakeholders to reduce the male tahr population.

When and where DOC control has taken place
Date Where Details
    Will be updated as soon as possible (within 10 working days of the conclusion of control operation)

Population monitoring

Aerial surveys have been carried out over recent years to estimate the density and abundance of Himalayan tahr on public conservation land in each of the seven management units and two exclusion zones in the Southern Alps. The surveys were carried out on three occasions at 66, 2 x 2 km plots located on public conservation land during 2016, 2017 and 2018.

For a full report on the aerial surveys see: Estimates of Himalayan tahr abundance in New Zealand: Results from aerial surveys (PDF, 1220K)

Key results were:

  • the total abundance of tahr on public conservation land for the period 2016 – 2018 was estimated to be 34,292 individuals (95% confidence interval; 24,777 – 47,461)
  • tahr abundances were highest in management units 3 and 4 (approximately 8,000 tahr in each), and were lowest in management unit 7 and the two exclusion zones (approximately 100 -150 tahr in each)
  • average tahr density over the three years of sampling was highest in management unit 3 (9.2 tahr/km2) and lowest in exclusion zone 2 (0.06 tahr/km2).

DOC is undertaking further tahr population monitoring in early 2019 which will further improve our estimates of the tahr population across the management zones and assist with the planning of future tahr control.


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