Forest & Bird has written to the Department of Conservation and the Deerstalkers Association regarding inaccurate media reports that the hunting lobby has gained concessions on the upcoming tahr cull.
Forest & Bird attended yesterday’s meeting of the Tahr Liaison Group, along with the Minister of Conservation, DOC, hunting groups, iwi, and other conservation and recreation groups.
The letter states, “We were troubled and concerned by media reports that agreement had been reached on a draft operational plan. This is inaccurate.”
“The meeting yesterday was very productive, but no plan was agreed to,” says Forest & Bird’s Canterbury regional manager Nicky Snoyink. “We certainly didn’t agree to any reduction in the number of animals to be killed.”
Forest & Bird strongly supports the reduction in Himalayan tahr numbers to protect New Zealand’s sensitive alpine ecosystems. The population is estimated at around 35,000, three and a half times the limit in the Himalayan Tahr Control Plan.
Ms Snoyink says such large numbers are having a dramatic impact on our fragile mountain environment, including on rare and endangered plants found nowhere else in the world.
The letter also underlines the legal standing of Himalayan Tahr Control Plan: “In our view the legal position is clear and unambiguous. The plan is a wild animal control plan under the Wild Animal Control Act 1977. The Minister is required to manage tahr in accordance with this plan.”
“Forest & Bird’s agreement to any draft operational plan is conditional on a clear undertaking that the Himalayan Tahr Control Plan would be implemented.”
The letter concludes: “For the avoidance of any doubt, we reiterate the view expressed at the meeting yesterday. Nothing has been agreed to by Forest & Bird.”
The letter to the Department of Conservation and the Deerstalkers Association can be found here.