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Tahr Foundation welcomes High Court decision on DOC's extermination plan

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The Tahr Foundation is welcoming the High Court decision halting DOC’s controversial plan to kill thousands of tahr through the Southern Alps. The Foundation asked the High Court for a judicial review of DOC’s plan to exterminate all Himalayan Tahr in national parks and sharply reduce tahr populations in other areas.

The application was heard in the High Court in Wellington on Wednesday and Justice Dobson has just released his decision this afternoon.

In the decision, Justice Dobson says that DOC is to reconsider its decision to proceed with the 2020-2021 plan after consulting with interests represented by the Foundation and other stakeholders.

Until consultation and a further decision have been completed, DOC can only undertake half of the 250 hours provided for in the 2020-2021 plan.

Tahr Foundation Spokesman Willie Duley is welcoming the decision as a victory for common sense.

"This is a landmark decision. It recognised the considerable gaps in DOC’s process, the lack of consideration for stakeholders affected and will stop the decimation of the tahr herd and save jobs," Willie Duley says.

"Just as importantly, Justice Dobson recognised that recreational hunters are legitimate stakeholders and have the right to not only be properly consulted by DOC, but also have their views properly considered."

"DOC tried to ride roughshod over the commercial and recreational hunting sector and their token consultation was a sham."

"If they had been allowed to get away with this, future consultation on any issue would have become meaningless and that has serious implications for all conservation stakeholders and outdoor recreation groups."

He says public support to stop DOC’s cull is soaring.

"The petition to stop DOC going ahead with the tahr kill is approaching 50,000 signatures while the Give a Little campaign has raised $135,000. It shows the depth of feeling there is against this senseless slaughter."

Willie Duley says in the wake of the High Court decision, the Tahr Foundation is offering to work with DOC and the Game Animal Council, the statutory body responsible for game animals like tahr, to come up with a suitable tahr management plan.

"We have always accepted the need to properly manage tahr numbers and recreational hunters have made a huge contribution to reducing populations, even though DOC refused in court to acknowledge that," Willie Duley says.

"Hundreds of jobs and a multi-million-dollar industry rely on tahr, let alone the recreational aspirations of tens of thousands of recreational hunters."

"We just want to be listened to and are happy to sit down with DOC, the Game Animal Council and others to thrash out a workable tahr management plan."

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