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“Tahrmageddon” imminent in New Zealand unless hunting groups can stop it

New Zealand Tahr

Photo credit: The Timaru Herald

Due to an overabundance of Himalayan tahr, the New Zealand Department of Conservation (NZDOC) has announced a cull aimed at lethally removing 10,000 of them from public conservation land in the South Island over the next 10 months. The area targeted for tahr removal includes the Westland-Tai Poutini and Aoraki Mt. Cook National Parks. NZDOC’s decision is based upon data that estimates about 35,600 tahr roam this area, which is 25,600 more than permitted under the Himalayan Tahr Control Plan 1993, according to Newshub.

Hunters travel to New Zealand from all over the world, interested in hunting tahr. While roughly 4,600 tahr are harvested each year by hunters, NZDOC says that’s not enough to bring tahr into sustainable numbers, hence the proposed cull. The aim of the cull is to bring the tahr numbers down to 10,000, which were “agreed upon in 1993,” according to Newshub. However, the proposed cull has sparked anger among the hunting community who say that the mass cull is based on faulty science and is, essentially, an “eradication in disguise,” The Timaru Herald reports.

“DOC’s own science they are basing the cull on has been hastily gathered is statistically borderline, and puts the population at anywhere between 17,000 and 50,000,” New Zealand Tahr Foundation (NZTF) spokesman Greg Duley told The Timaru Herald.

"On top of the 3,000 they recently culled, they are proposing to cull another 17,500 outside Mt. Cook and Westland National Parks, and all the tahr inside the National Parks. This is potentially 25,000 to 30,000 tahr, when the population may well be as low as 20,000.”

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The current proposal calls for the cull to include 30% of the bulls; however, Duley points out that the current data finds that bulls only account for about 16% of the population. Hence, Duley adds that “[w]hoever wrote the plan did not look at their own science.”

While tahr may need to be managed for overall habitat health, NZTF wants the proposal to include the New Zealand Game Animal Council, which advises the Minister of Conservation on game animal issues and protocol. NZTF argues that to simply hold a cull would be detrimental to the hunting economy within the country.

“Each bull tahr is worth $14,000 alone to the economy,” Duley told NewsNow. “In the first cull, they propose to shoot 3,000 tahr, if you do the maths, that's $42m worth of bull tahr left to rot on the hillside. That's just wrong.”

NZTF has launched a crowdfunding campaign that has already raised over 100,000 to fight against the cull. Interested in making your voice heard? Here’s a plan of attack outlined by NZTF to help you get started:

Tahr Foundation

Photo credit: New Zealand Tahr Foundation 
 

7 Comments

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SETH D. - posted 3 weeks ago on 09-29-2018 10:23:19 am
Big Wonderful Wyoming
goHUNT INSIDER

Hunting in New Zealand is expensive outfitted because Americans are willing to pay for huge game farm red deer, fallow, tahr and chamois on the South Island. The North Island has fallow, sika, rusa, sambar and more red deer.

The government has federal land and offers ballots for times to hunt. Not tags, but times to hunt. You can literally go in there and shoot 30 tahr in one day if you catch them right. Or you can spend 8 days hiking and not see a hair.

The federal government in New Zealand is currently staffed with protectionist who only see the tahr as non-native and don't understand or don't like the hunting activity that is going on, and are out to rid the Kiwis of the tahr all together.

They use helicopters and guys with AR15s to shoot them. This is the same way they control pigs, and other non-native wildlife.

Alejandro S. - posted 3 weeks ago on 09-28-2018 07:11:10 am
goHUNT INSIDER

It is possible to take 30% of the bulls. Look, I'm not saying one way or the other, however, it is misleading to state that since bulls account for 16% of the population, that the people making the decision did not look at the data.

Quick math: let's say there are 1000 animals total. 16% of those are bulls, that equals 160. If they take 30% of that, that equals 48.

I have plans to hunt in New Zealand too, and maybe they know what's best. Maybe they don't. All I'm saying is that we need to be careful on how numbers are presented.

SETH D. - posted 3 weeks ago on 09-27-2018 11:38:59 am
Big Wonderful Wyoming
goHUNT INSIDER

Having spent a lot of time in New Zealand and Australia and having a wildlife biology degree from the USA, I would say that the biologist are just as screwed up by biological ethics in New Zealand as they are in the USA. They are driven by their own green peace or hunter logic.

Many times I was told by Australian and Kiwi wildlife biologist that the Great Barrier Reef would be dead in 5 years, and the Polar Bears would be extinct in 2020. It is 2018, neither proclamation is even close to becoming true. They don't have the financial resources to put as much money in research as we do in the USA, and American research is not as well funded as it could be. This makes for a lot of BS political drama trolling the environmental science of the South Pacific. Sound familiar?

Erik S. - posted 3 weeks ago on 09-27-2018 11:07:09 am
goHUNT INSIDER

Hunters here are starting to sound like the animal rights activist going against science on predator management in the States. If the biologist think its necessary to cull the non natives out then it probably is....I have no nothing about New Zealand other than almost everything there is not native.

SETH D. - posted 3 weeks ago on 09-27-2018 12:42:05 am
Big Wonderful Wyoming
goHUNT INSIDER

I broke my back about 5 days before we were supposed to leave from Australia and go. A friend of mine went in my place, and they shot 5 tahr in 5 days and caught untold numbers of wild trout.

They did it unguided, brought their own camping gear, hired a helicopter and flew up on the mountain.

SETH D. - posted 3 weeks ago on 09-27-2018 12:42:04 am
Big Wonderful Wyoming
goHUNT INSIDER

I broke my back about 5 days before we were supposed to leave from Australia and go. A friend of mine went in my place, and they shot 5 tahr in 5 days and caught untold numbers of wild trout.

They did it unguided, brought their own camping gear, hired a helicopter and flew up on the mountain.

Nicholas G. - posted 3 weeks ago on 09-26-2018 08:16:18 pm
Crookston MN
goHUNT INSIDER

really hope this big of a cull doesn't happen. NZ is one of few places a non resident alien can go and hunt on a totally DYI type hunt. minus the airfare is a pretty affordable hunt.