Zero Invasive Predators (ZIP) is funding a Game Animal Council-led trial to assess tahr mortality during the possum eradication trial in the Perth catchment.
The Council is supportive of the development of alternative game animal repellent options to make such applications both cheaper and more effective.
The GAC has been working with ZIP, NZDA, DOC, Landcare Research, a helicopter company and the hunting guides association to implement a monitoring program to assess the effects of the ZIP pest control operation on tahr.
21 tahr were fitted with Sirtrack collars in April 2018. The first toxic application occurred in April 2019.
All 14 tahr exposed to aerial 1080 survived.
This is an extremely important outcome for hunters and conservation because it is the first signal that kea mortality via secondary poisoning from tahr killed by 1080 is unlikely to be a problem. However, this is a small sample, and the second round, which is using a different lure, may yield different results. We continue to receive reports of radio-collared tahr locations from ZIP each time they deploy the Sky Ranger monitoring system.
The second toxic application is planned for June 2019, but this is weather dependent.
The results will be invaluable for better understanding how predator control can be carried out while minimising adverse effects on game animals, and should also inform what future work is required. The cooperation shown by all parties working together has been good for both hunting and conservation outcomes.