Doc tahr ballot cancelled

A tahr ballot in South Westland this summer has been cancelled.

The Department of Conservation had planned to allow air access to the Hooker-Landsborough Wilderness Area, Adams Wilderness Area and nine sites in Westland National Park in January.

Lead operations director for tahr control Andy Roberts said feedback from some members of the Tahr Liaison Group suggested January was not the best time for the balloted hunting.

"Feedback suggested hunters would prefer not to undertake tahr control during this time as kids wouldn’t have weaned from their mothers," Mr Roberts said.

He said the South Westland Doc office had the best of intentions, but would be cancelling the ballot based on feedback. The next opportunity for balloted hunting would be in late April next year during the tahr "rut".

The tahr ballot is about authorising aircraft landings on wilderness areas and national park land. Keen hunters can undertake recreational hunting on public conservation land anytime during the year.

"We will be continuing to work with the Tahr Liaison Group to identify potential ballot opportunities, where recreational hunters can contribute to tahr control.

"Over the summer months, Doc will be focusing on monitoring the size of the tahr population and the damage tahr are causing to precious alpine and subalpine vegetation like the Aoraki/Mount Cook lily."

Present best estimates put the tahr population on public conservation land at more than 35,000 animals.

Doc’s aerial tahr control operation is still on hold following a fatal helicopter accident last month.

There is no confirmed date for work to resume, but  is unlikely to be before February next year. 

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