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Mass killing of tahr will be devastating for tourism – NZ Tahr Foundation

Tourism industry operators are pleading for the government to halt DOC’s plan for a mass killing of Himalayan Tahr, saying the animals provide hundreds of jobs and a multi-million dollar benefit to the country.

Under a controversial 2020-21 plan which came into effect yesterday, DOC will significantly increase the number of tahr it kills, including exterminating all animals in national parks.

The Tahr Foundation has asked the High Court for an injunction to stop DOC going ahead with the mass slaughter.

Tahr hunting makes a highly valuable contribution to the South Island economy, bringing in tens of millions of tourist dollars every year. The industry sustains hundreds of local jobs, including guides, accommodation and helicopter operators and retailers.

The Professional Hunting Guides Association says its members are shocked by DOC’s decision to kill much of the tahr resource they rely on.

Guides Association president James Cagney says the news has sent them reeling.

"This plan is a real blow. It would effectively decimate the tahr population in the Southern Alps and if successful will throw hundreds of people out of work," says James.

"What DOC is planning couldn’t have come at a worse time. The COVID pandemic has already hit our industry hard and now with no disclosure of the draft plan during consultation, DOC is going to make things even worse.

"We wanted help from the government to see us through this rough patch but instead what we have got are plans to decimate our livelihood," he says.

James says the Guides’ Association will be writing to the Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis, the Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Employment Minister Willie Jackson asking for help.

"Tourism is our lifeblood and we need help to stop this plan to ensure that a viable tahr resource remains when our booked and rescheduled international hunting clients return when the borders reopen and save hundreds of jobs," says James.

"Grant is also the Minister for Recreation, so he can help on that front too because thousands of New Zealanders go tahr hunting every year. If DOC is allowed to go ahead with its tahr killing plan, that source of healthy recreation will be eliminated along with the tahr."

The Guides Association says they will also be asking Tourism New Zealand and Tourism Industry Aotearoa for help to preserve their industry.

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