Sparing tahr bulls considered 'illegal'

A plan to spare tahr bulls as South Island cull operations resume had been deemed ''illegal'' by Forest & Bird.

The Department of Conservation yesterday said it would this week resume its operation culling Himalayan tahr in alpine areas of the South Island.

The operation has been on hold since Doc workers Scott Theobald and Paul Hondelink died in a helicopter crash in Wanaka in October.

Doc community engagement director Ben Reddix said it still planned to kill 10,000 tahr by the end of August.

About $1million has been allocated for tahr control and further research into their abundance and its effects on the environment.

The plans were criticised by hunters last year.

Through conversations with the hunting sector, the department decided to leave bulls in the seven tahr management units for hunters.

It would offer hunters the locations of these male tahr.

Forest & Bird said leaving the tahr bulls behind was ''not lawful''.

Organisation lawyer Peter Anderson said this part of the plan breached the National Parks Act and did more for ''wealthy overseas heli-hunters'' than it did for environmental protection.

''We've got vast herds of tahr up there doing enormous damage to alpine plants.

''In national parks, it's not lawful to leave behind large numbers of trophy animals which hunters may or may not kill.''

Doc estimates the tahr population is at nearly 35,000 animals, well above the limit of 10,000 tahr set out in control plans.



If it doesn't have feathers, wings or leaves, Forest & Bird want to kill it. Fanatics to the nth degree...