Hunting group threatens legal action over DoC's mass cull of Himalayan tahr

  • 24/09/2018

A recreational hunting group is threatening court action in an attempt to prevent the Department of Conservation's (DoC's) mass cull of the Himalayan tahr. 

The New Zealand Tahr Foundation is unhappy with DoC's decision to cull 10,000 tahr on public conservation land in the South Island, including the Westland-Tai Poutini and Aoraki Mt Cook National Parks, over the next 10 months. 

DoC estimates there are at least 35,600 tahr on public conservation land - 25,600 more than allowed under the Himalayan Thar Control Plan 1993.

The Tahr Liaison Group, made up of organisations with hunting interests and Ngāi Tahu, will help reduce the numbers by hunting an extra 7500 - overall halving the population if successful. 

New Zealand Tahr Foundation Treasurer Kaylyn Pinney says the group just wants its consideration to be heard by DoC. 

"It think this is pretty clear this is important for everybody," she says.

"You can't just walk in and take away the biggest resource to the hunting industry and expect us not to stand up for ourselves."

The group has set up a Givealittle page to help with with the costs of a court injunction has already raised more than $100,000.

Ms Pinney told Newshub support on the page has exceeded all expectations, with thousands of people rallying behind the cause.

The group simply wants to see if DoC will listen to their cause to stop the cull and take their consideration seriously, if not they will take legal action.

If this goes ahead the group hope's the animal is deemed of special interest, meaning management plans are put in place to prevent the outright cull from happening.

Recreational and commercial hunting groups have together been removing an average of about 4600 tahr each year, which is not enough to control the population.

DoC first raised concerns about tahr not being counted effectively in 2015. A new monitoring programme was launched, which gathered data over 18 months showing the new species figures.

In the long run, DoC hopes to get tahr levels back to 10,000 - the levels agreed upon in 1993.