Tahr sightings and control maps

DOC have recently published maps on their website to show where tahr have been controlled during the 2020-2021 control operations so far. The maps also show where mature bull tahr outside the National Parks were sighted and may prove useful to tahr hunters planning their next trip. The maps are available here.

2020-2021 Control Plan

DOC is still considering information gained from consultation on the rest of the 2020-21 Control Operational Plan, including the submission of the Game Animal Council.

Unfortunately DOC’s 2020-2021 Draft Tahr Control Operational Plan as presented to the Tahr Plan Implementation Liaison Group is a departure from plans previously supported by the hunting sector.

The Game Animal Council and the hunting sector have expressed our priorities as:

  1. Tahr control decisions that take into account the benefits of maintaining a tahr hunting resource for recreational hunters and commercial operators.
  2. Control operations that prioritise the removal of tahr from outside the feral range, where tahr density is high, where tahr density threatens areas of high ecological significance and where hunting has limited impact.
  3. Recognising the significant negative effects of COVID-19 on the hunting sector, the need to support local hunters and assist with the recovery of guided hunting and hunting-based tourism.
  4. Control, including in the national parks, that is focussed on females and does not include recognisable bulls. This approach has benefits for recreational and guided hunting as well as conservation through the reduction in herd size.
  5. Ensuring that the necessary research and monitoring programmes are in place to inform future management decisions and a long term tahr management plan is developed as has been agreed to.

The GAC continuee to advocate for an evidence-led approach that recognises the importance of tahr management in conservation and tahr as a recreational and commercial resource.

2019-2020 Control Plan

The Tahr Control Operational Plan for 1 September 2019 to 30 June 2020 was developed following consultation with key stakeholders including the Game Animal Council.

DOC control is to focus on protecting Aoraki/Mount Cook and Westland Tai Poutini National Parks from the impacts of a large tahr population, while also stopping the tahr feral range from geographically expanding.

Instead of targeting a specific number of animals, DoC targeted key areas and nationally significant landscapes spending 40 hours in the air protecting the national parks as well as another 40 hours in the air controlling the edge of the feral range boundaries.

The new plan is available here and GAC’s statement on it is here.

In all areas, DoC undertook to leave identifiable male tahr for hunters . Recreational hunters will be able to log their control efforts on an app which is currently in development.

2018-2019 Control Plan

Results of the 2018/19 Tahr Control Operational Plan are available at DoC’s Tahr Control Operations information page.

Of particular interest to hunters and something that the Game Animal Council and the NZ Tahr Foundation successfully negotiated with DoC are the production of maps showing the locations and numbers of tahr controlled, and where and in what numbers bulls have been seen.

Note that bulls were not targeted by operations within the feral range.

Map of tahr management units

In the following  videos Professor Geoff Kerr describes how DoC has estimated the number of tahr.