Tahr nannies and juvenile males
Image: Dylan Higgison | ©

Introduction

DOC is working with Ngāi Tahu and the Tahr Plan Implementation Liaison Group, to achieve the goals of the Himalayan Thar Control Plan 1993.

Each year, we work with hunting and conservation stakeholders to produce an operational plan. We do this through the Tahr Plan Implementation Liaison Group (TPILG).

The annual plan outlines how DOC will work with hunters to control tahr and protect native ecosystems. This includes on and off public conservation land.

Operational Plan 2021/2022

This plan was developed after we engaged with the TPILG for five months. Their feedback from meetings and in written submissions helped to refine this 2021/2022 plan.

Updates

Completed control operations

Control operations have commenced and were undertaken over July in management units (MU):

  • 3 (Gammack/ Two Thumb)
  • 4 (Westland Tai Poutini National Park), and
  • 5 (Ben Ohau).

One-third of the planned aerial control for 2021/22 is now complete.

No further aerial control will be conducted in MU 3 or MU 5 under this Operational Plan which runs through to 30 June 2022. This means there will be no further control under the current Operational Plan in four of the management units (MU 1, MU 3, MU 5, and MU 7) as South Rakaia/Rangitata (MU 1) and Wills/Makarora/Hunter (MU 7) are not receiving any aerial control under the 2021/22 Operational Plan.

New maps showing bull tahr locations

We have new maps showing areas where bull tahr have recently been observed in MUs 3 and 5. We have also published three new maps of the aerial control undertaken to date for the 2021/22 Operational Plan. These cover control undertaken in MU 3, MU 4, and MU 5.

New maps published.

For specific detail on other management units, view the Tahr Control Operational Plan 2021/2022 (PDF,2,679K)

We'll provide ongoing updates as this year’s operations continue. These will be published and include:

  • maps showing identifiable male tahr observations
  • maps showing where control has occurred to date, and
  • confirmation of when work in each area is complete for the season.

These updates will give hunters certainty on areas they can hunt tahr knowing our control is complete for the year.

Aim of the control plan

DOC’s Tahr Control Operations are guided by the statutory Himalayan Tahr Control Plan 1993. This was developed under section 5(1)(d) of the Wild Animal Control Act 1977. 

The plan sets a maximum population of 10,000 tahr across 706,000 ha of private land, Crown pastoral leases and public conservation land within the tahr feral range. The feral range is the legal boundary of where tahr are allowed to be.

Regional approaches

The control plan details the work we have currently scheduled. A summary of our plans for some regions is available below.

Around the midpoint of the control programme DOC and the Game Animal Council will review our work to date. We may then reallocate resources to other management areas to optimise control.

No control for South Rakaia/Rangitata and hunter-led management

DOC has decided not to control tahr in the South Rakaia/Rangitata management unit over the next year. This is so we can analyse survey data from this popular hunting spot. We've also started discussions with TPILG on what hunter-led management would look like for the tahr population within this unit.

Hunter-led management could involve hunters managing tahr populations, reporting on their numbers and the health of ecosystems. DOC is excited to see what can be achieved by working together with the group on this opportunity.

The survey undertaken in Autumn 2021 will provide valuable insights for TPILG to consider. It will give detailed information on tahr numbers in the South Rakaia/Rangitata and the Gammack/Two Thumb management units, including the gender balance of the local tahr population.

Our focus and work across West Coast

This year most of the control effort will shift to the West Coast, where large groups of tahr remain in some places. East of the alps, our work will focus on places which are difficult for ground hunters to access, but where there are high numbers of tahr.

DOC will continue to target all tahr in Aoraki/Mount Cook and Westland Tai Poutini national parks, and outside the feral range.

We will not target identifiable male tahr in other locations over the remaining 425,000 hectares of public conservation lands inside the seven management units.

We continuing to target large tahr groups on the West Coast where hunter access is challenging. This is because hunters and other stakeholders have reported there are still large numbers of animals.

We also plan to trial using professional ground hunters to search for and control tahr in forest areas where animals can be hard to spot from the air.

New research to support our planning

DOC’s research and monitoring programme is also continuing this year with several initiatives underway to learn more about the tahr population and ecosystems.

Earlier this year DOC began remeasuring historic vegetation plots on the West Coast and this work will continue over the coming summer. DOC is also planning to implement a new programme to look at vegetation condition at different tahr densities.

As outlined above, a research project is underway in the South Rakaia/Rangitata and the Gammack/Two Thumb management units which will provide a detailed snapshot of tahr numbers, including the size and sex of the local tahr population. Results are expected to be available later this year.


More information

Previous control plans and decisions

Read previous Tahr Control Operational Plan documents and related information on control planning decisions:

Supporting documents

Reports on the impacts of Himalayan tahr:

Population monitoring reports:

Find tahr hunting ‘hotspots’

DOC is mapping the locations of tahr observed on public conservation land.

Use our tahr sightings maps to plan hunts on conservation land, or find areas where you can hunt tahr and other wild animals.

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