Mountain hunting in New Zealand is as good an experience that any adventurous hunter could ever ask for. Having done many tahr hunts myself receiving news that the New Zealand extreme Greens MP Eugenie Sage wants to wipe out a significant chunk of the tahr herd left me shaking my head.
New Zealand has a rich hunting and fishing culture with many public land areas to enjoy these past times. I always thought
NZ would be somewhat immune to crazy Green policy however the last few weeks have proven this theory wrong.
Unfortunately, the locals see the same craziness that we do. Tahr hunting is not only popular in New Zealand, but it would account for a considerable amount of tourist dollars.
The Greens aim to cull 20,000 Tahr, and they are calling the exercise and extermination.
Most of you will be aware by now that the Minister of Conservation has Himalayan tahr well and truly in her sights. Make no mistake, if she has her way, it will be the end of tahr hunting as we know it!
She has instructed her department to cull 17,500 tahr on top of the almost 3000 already culled in the last couple of months, and also she intends to reduce the tahr density in Mt Cook and Westland National Parks to zero. She wants her department to cull around 25,000 to 30,000 tahr by the middle of next year, out of what they are saying is an estimated population of 35,000 (and this estimate by their own admission could be way out either way – what do we have left if there is only 25,000 to begin with?) – and they intend to shoot the bulls too. This is without a doubt the destruction of the tahr hunting resource.
The only way we are going to stop this is by a huge lobbying effort of the Coalition and opposition MPs by all hunters united together, but this will not stop the slaughter before the damage is done. The New Zealand Tahr Foundation is going to seek a court injunction to have the culling stopped while the GAC puts an alternative proposal that will achieve the required herd reduction spread over 3 years to preserve the alpine vegetation without totally destroying the tahr hunting resource.
What can you do? Email your local and all the relevant MPs, and demand they get the Minister of Conservation stop this immediate destruction of the tahr herd. There is no explosion of numbers that requires this knee jerk reaction – demand she works with her statutory advisors the GAC and their proposal to achieve the necessary reduction in the tahr herd to protect the alpine environment while still providing a sustainable hunting resource.
And contribute to the tahr legal costs fighting fund when we get it up and running – watch this space!
MP’s email contacts:
Read below if you want more information:
DoC met with the representatives from the new Tahr Liaison Group (TLG) in August, and they have now released their revised control plan to satisfy her objectives. The main take home message expressed by the TLG was, while they acknowledged tahr numbers needed reducing to some extent, DoC must not cull bulls. However, DoC’s proposed control plan completely ignores this. Outside the National Parks they have a said that 30% of the animals culled will be identifiable males (bulls over the age of 2 years old) plus all juvenile males – which is a complete joke – as identifiable males are only about 30% at the maximum of the population anyway! In other words this is no concession to recreational and commercial hunting interests at all! They are going to shoot all tahr in the Westland and Mt Cook National Parks (down to a zero density), attempting to eradicate them all together. Initially, on top of the 2,500 they have already culled in the last few months, they are going to shoot 3000 bulls and 7000 other tahr in Management Units 1 to 7 before mid-November (all the tahr range outside the National Parks.) This includes all the most accessible, heavily hunted areas of the tahr range.
On top of this, they are expecting us to dig our own graves. The plan states they are expecting recreational hunters, guides, WARO and AATH to kill another 7500 tahr and provide proof of this on a monthly basis by the 1st of May 2019. If we collectively don’t make the required number of kills, DoC will cull the remainder to make up the total to 7500. On top of what they’ve already culled, plus what they’re going to shoot in the National Parks, they are suggesting they are going to cull between 25,000 to 30,000 all up over the next 12 months – out of an estimated population of 35,000. That certainly will not leave any sort of tahr hunting resource at all, make no mistake!
This control plan is simply bad science, focussed on outputs not outcomes. The outcome should be firstly a healthy environment and secondly a tahr resource that produces quality animals for everyone’s needs. All the information from Tustin, Caughley and Parkes which we don’t have room to go into here says the tahr population is not increasing out of control, and with the current harvest level it has largely plateaued. Yes, there are still too many and we have this number of 10,000 in the 1993 HTCP, but there is no need for an immediate panic to get it back down to this level – nothing that requires this knee jerk reaction from the Minister and her department – causing them to ignore the input from all interested parties and destroying a huge recreational and economic resource. And we’re talking overseas export earnings here – the average bull tahr trophy generates about $14,000 all up for the country; multiply that by the thousands of bulls they intend to cull and we’re talking multi millions of dollars a year of lost revenue. Let alone the huge economy that is based around NZ locals’ recreational tahr hunting and the ancillary industries that it supports – importers and retailers of hunting gear and clothing, accommodation, taxidermists, helicopter and other transport operators, 4wd dealers etc – and the huge benefit to social wellbeing (fitness, physical and mental health etc) of getting people out in the hills.
There is a much better way of achieving the 1993 HTCPs objectives, without decimating tahr hunting and everything that goes with it. All the science tells us that targeting the identifiable females only is the quickest and most cost efficient way to achieve population objectives (even the 1993 HTCP says its preferable to target mostly females and acknowledges that bull tahr are required to motivate interest from all hunters). This time of year the bulls are off on their own and targeting them just means you’re wasting helicopter time flying around where there are no nannies. And a nannies-only regime is one that hunting organisations will buy into and do their bit to achieve – organised culls etc. The Game Animal Council are putting an alternative plan to the Minister, but we will need huge political pressure from others in her coalition government to make her see sense, judging by what we’ve seen so far. Keep up to date with our posts on this page, and we will tell you when, what you need to say, and to whom as we’ll need to mount a huge email/mail campaign to all the relevant politicians to get them to demand the Minister look at sensible alternative proposals. Andy Roberts from DoC told a bunch of lies to the media on the TV3 News last night, claiming that the population is out of control and tahr are going to starve this year. That is just mischief making at its absolute worst and not what we expect from a Government Department!
We are investigating a court injunction to stop the culling while we bring political pressure to bear. These legal costs will need to be funded, so watch this page for how to donate to the cause.
This is the time for all with an interest in big game animals, both recreational and commercial, to pull together and speak with a united voice! Divided our tahr are doomed …
The New Zealand Tahr Foundation
For any contact email: email@example.com
NZDA put out the following communication.
Attention ALL Hunters, Want to shoot a BIG Bull Tahr? See Below!
Minister Sage has now come up with what Greg Duley has aptly termed Tahrmageddon. Her latest un-consulted edict is to require at least 17500 further tahr to be removed beyond the 5000 she said they had shot to mid July. This includes 10000 from the Rakaia-Rangitata and Gammack-Two Thumb area and to keep going until they remove that many – not clear there are that many so east coast hunting will be stuffed for a decade. Mt Cook NP and Westland NP are to be targeted to zero density. Hunters are to be given the task of controlling tahr in the remote experience zones which have expensive restricted access and the most challenging terrain so the intention is clear – to set us up to fail then step in.
The shooting on the east coast will be in the most accessible areas to rec hunters. They now also intend to shoot not only nannies and juveniles but also 30% of identifiable bulls. As her justification she is using the ignored for a decade Himalayan tahr control plan 1993 (HTCP) however that’s BS and the plan has multiple requirements for consultation which have been ignored. This is her dogma driven final solution for tahr. There is no justification for this and it is simply her exterminationist dogma.
Her aim is to start the culling Sept 30th and finish it by mid November this year. If hunters are slow to react it will be too late, her intent is clear – to have the tahr dead before hunters have the chance to react effectively.
The NZ Tahr Foundation is likely to be the vehicle to challenge this and legal options are being explored, funding has been secured. For the first time the AATH guys, the guides, rec hunters are all on the same side adamantly opposed to her cleansing exercise, all have much to lose as does the nation – many tens of millions of visitor income.
Contact the minister and ask her to cease the intended action and hold meaningful consultation with all hunters as required by the HTCP, ask for the data to demonstrate the need, ask for maps of the areas affected etc etc. Note your concerns.
The Minister of Conservations email is firstname.lastname@example.org
We urgently need bulk numbers to grind her office to a standstill and create attention, nice approaches and reason do not work with her, GAC and the tahr community have tried it and failed, she is not listening yet. Also raise the issue with as many ministers and MP’s as you can.
Spread the word. If she succeeds with this on tahr then its likely various deer herds are next and when there is little left to hunt why do you need firearms ?
Be polite please, ask lots of questions, note she has at most 20 days to respond and do it ASAP. Bulk lobbying is one of our strengths, use it.