DOC culls 12,000 tahr in bid to keep numbers of the alpine pest under control

The Department of Conservation has culled 12,000 tahr in a bid to bring numbers of the alpine pest under control.

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The Department of Conservation has culled 12,000 of the alpine pests to bring numbers under control. Source: 1 NEWS

A relative of the mountain goat, DOC says it is an introduced species that is destroying native New Zealand fauna. Their favourite food is snow tussock, a plant that can usually live for centuries.

Introduced to the country’s mountains for sport, tahr have developed a real taste for native plants. In the South Island's mountain ranges near Mount Cook, tahr can be seen in large numbers.

James Holborow of DOC told 1 NEWS they’ve already controlled around 12,500 tahr on public conservation land.

“That’s a combination of ground hunting by hunters, some aerial control and some wild animal recovery,” says Mr Holborow.

By law, the animals are only allowed within the tahr feral range, an area which stretches across 1.7 million hectares of the central South Island.

The next step is measuring how many tahr exist on private and Crown land.

"We're leaving the larger males because the recreational hunters are keen to target them, so that gives them motivation to get out into the hills and do their part,” said Mr Holborow.