In late June, various community stakeholders and hunters in New Zealand called for an injunction to stop Department of Conservation’s plan to cull all tahr in New Zealand National Parks. Although the injunction was granted in mid-July, the resulting Tahr Control Operation Plan has not reflected the science-backed policies that were already established in the previous plans.
“The New Zealand Deerstalkers Association believes the Department of Conservation’s revised tahr control operational plan… shows that culling the Himalayan tahr herd as now planned is based on ideology, political interference, a lack of quality data and science, and made to appease the extreme views of Forest & Bird who continue to maintain their threat of bad faith court action.”
“The NZ Tahr Foundation is very disappointed at DOC’s decision to press ahead with the majority of the 2020-21 Tahr Control Operational Plan and is also expressing concern over the integrity of DOC’s decision-making process.”
After the consulting process required by the injunction, the Operational Plan now contains assurance that the DOC will avoid targeting tahr in popular recreational hunting areas located outside the national parks’ management unit; explore options to improve opportunities for recreational hunting, guided hunting, and commercial recovery of tahr; invite the Game Animal Council to a discussion on the operational results of control to date; and urgently progress plans to work with Ngāi Tahu, researchers and stakeholders to develop an integrated research and monitoring programme by 10 December 2020.
The DOC claims that they will “continue to leave bull tahr for hunters across 425,000ha of public conservation land outside of the national park’s management unit. There is also 133,000 ha of Crown pastoral leases and private land which is where the vast majority of commercial tahr hunting takes place.”
Source: Department of Conservation, New Zealand Deerstalkers Association, NZ Tahr Foundation