Tahr cull: Game council upset at lack of consultation

Tahr have have become a threat to the ecosystems in alpine areas of the South Island, the...
Tahr have have become a threat to the ecosystems in alpine areas of the South Island, the Department of Conservation says. Photo: Stephen Jaquiery
The Department of Conservation has upset the Game Animal Council over a lack of ''meaningful consultation'' in regard to the management of Himalayan Tahr in the Southern Alps.

Chairman Don Hammond said today the council and members of the Thar Plan Implementation Liaison Group received the final tahr control plan from department at 11.03pm last night, ''just hours before operations were due to start.''

The plan is to eradicate thar from national parks.

“Only two days was provided for consultation,'' Mr Hammond said.

''The final plan being released minutes before it comes into effect and with almost no change from the original version indicates a pre-determined outcome and the hunting sector was not intended to be part of the plan development process.''

Mr Hammond said the plan included triple the amount of helicopter culling within the feral range along with the removal of all tahr, including mature bulls, from Aoraki/Mt Cook and Westland Tai Poutini National Parks.

An injunction filed in the High Court in Wellington by the Tahr Foundation seeks to stop Doc from carrying out the plan.

“If the operations are completed, they will devastate tahr hunting in New Zealand.”

The plan also stated Doc would work with stakeholders to develop a research and monitoring programme, Mr Hammond said.

“They have been telling us of the need for a plan for research and monitoring for two years now and nothing has happened.

“While development of a plan for research is vital, it is the implementation phase of that plan that needs to get underway urgently.

''The risk is further delays will mean there are very few tahr left to monitor anyway.”

Mr Hammond said Doc's plan would have ''huge impacts'' on recreational and commercial hunting ''just when we need all the jobs we can muster.”

“It is a sad day, not just for hunting in New Zealand, but also for the principle of proper consultation by government agencies.”

Doc has been approached for comment.

mark.price@odt.co.nz

Comments

Gosh, and here I was thinking Thar were a pest species that is harming NZ ecosystems. It appears the hunting lobby people don't care about the environment nearly as much as they care about their violent little hobby. I guess we shouldn't be surprised.