Tahr Liaison Group update


  • Recreational hunting
    • The recreational hunting returns on the DOC website as at 8 April 2019 are shown in the table below.

Tahr Returns April 2019

    • Following the Tahr Liaison Group meeting in March the Tahr Foundation and DOC facilitated five groups to undertake recreational hunting in South Westland (as a result from the opportunity being discussed at the meeting).  Work is underway on how these opportunities could be extended in the future.
    • The Tahr Foundation, NZDA and GAC are working together on a verification approach for recreational hunting.  The purpose of that work has been agreed as ‘to provide an assessment of publicly available hunting apps that could be trialled by recreational hunters to record tahr kills’.
  • Tahr research and monitoring
    • Tahr Liaison Group members have been invited to the GAC and DOC hosted workshop on 9 May.  The purpose of the workshop is ‘To identify the key research and monitoring questions for effectively implementing the 1993 Himalayan Thar Control Plan: What do we know and what do we need to know about?’.  Reminder to please respond to both Geoff Kerr and James Holborow on attendance.
    • The Department has commissioned a short report from Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research to support context setting at that workshop – the purpose is ‘To provide a concise overview of the current state of tahr knowledge’. Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research may be in touch with some of you for information to support their work.
  • DOC tahr control
    • The Department has commenced work in the Northern exclusion zone – where judas tahr have been a key tool in that control work. DOC work from now through to the end of June will concentrate on the Northern and Southern Exclusion zones and other pockets of animals beyond the defined feral range – important work to prevent range expansion.
    • No DOC control has been undertaken in the management units since the announcement of the tahr programme recommencing (and will not until 1 July). I have heard of anecdotal reports of some helicopter hunting - any activity in the management units will be from AATH operators or Zero Invasive Predators undertaking tahr recovery (limited numbers of tahr as advised at the Tahr Liaison Group meeting).
    • The majority of the 10,000 tahr to be controlled by 30 August 2019 will occur over July and August 2019. DOC has been working on the detail of that, which may include tahr control from a range of known and potential sources (i.e., organised recreational hunting; AATH trophies; AATH offsets; tahr carcass recovery – WARO; contract control; and DOC control).
  • Vegetation report
    • At the Tahr Liaison Group meeting it was noted that a report on ‘ Potential of Tier One and alternative monitoring networks to assess the ecological integrity of alpine vegetation exposed to tahr grazing’ had been completed. I was waiting on the development of a summary report and factsheet – this will be available next week (slightly later than I had hoped).  I will provide copies to the Tahr Liaison Group of the three documents next week – they will also be useful context for the research and monitoring workshop.
  • Post 30 August 2019
    • As previously stated the Department will lead a process for the development of the approach for tahr management post 30 August 2019. We will certainly be working with the Tahr Liaison Group as part of that – more detail on how we can work together on this to come shortly.
  • Tahr abundance monitoring
    • As outlined at the Tahr Liaison Group meeting aerial surveys have been undertaken over the last 6 weeks across public conservation land. LINZ and DOC are working with crown pastoral leaseholders to undertake aerial surveys on crown pastoral land.

1080 pest control on tahr populations research.

Game Animal Council and Zero Invasive Predators joint research project into the effects of 1080 pest control on tahr populations.

On Saturday 13 April, during the initial stages of toxic baiting, 14 radio-tagged tahr, were present in the operational area. Further rounds of Sky Ranger monitoring were carried out, on Tuesday 16, Thursday 18, and Monday 22 April. All 14 tahr were found alive in the operational area during each round of post-toxin monitoring.

For further information please go to:

Press Release - Hunters stand up but won’t be counted

NZ Tahr Foundation
Media Statement

7 March 2019


Hunters stand up but won’t be counted

Following the halt to the Department of Conservation’s tahr control operations in October last year recreational hunters have taken up the charge and removed a large number of tahr with approximately 1000 having been registered on the DOC website.

“The decision by the Department of Conservation to ignore the efforts of recreational hunters in removing a large number of tahr from the Southern Alps is very disappointing” said Snow Hewetson spokesperson for the NZ Tahr Foundation.

DOC requested that hunters log the tahr killed on their website specifically set up for this purpose and hunters have done as instructed, but these kills will now not be counted in the total of 10,000 tahr to be culled prior to the end of August this year. “This is slap in the face for the many recreational hunters who, at their own cost, got out in the mountains and killed tahr. Despite this we still want all hunters to continue their good work and log their kills on the website.”

The NZ Tahr Foundation worked cooperatively and in good faith with DOC through the Tahr Liaison Group process to arrive at a plan for removing 10,000 tahr even though the actual tahr population on public land is unknown with the best estimate being between 24,000 and 48,000. At the recent Tahr Liaison Group meeting recreational hunters, hunting guides and WARO reaffirmed their commitment to remove as many tahr as they can to assist DOC.

Southern Alps Meats put a proposal to DOC to shoot all the required tahr and recover the carcasses of as many as possible for the export market. Southern Alps meats has recovered and processed approximately 2000 tahr in the last 2 years at zero cost to the tax payer. They include some of New Zealand’s most experienced helicopter hunters operating from Kaikoura to Te Anau. The company would turn animals that would otherwise be left to rot into export meat from New Zealand’s Southern Alps. The New Zealand Tahr foundation would like to see the Department work with these operators and recover as many tahr as possible.

“DOC has stated publicly that they are committed to working with the recreational and commercial hunting sector to achieve the 10,000 total. We want to see that commitment actually put into practise and we will be monitoring closely what DOC does going forward” said Snow Hewetson.

Snow Hewetson
Spokesperson NZ Tahr Foundation
Tel: 0274122772