Findings released from a research programme conducted by Zero Invasive Predators (ZIP) and the Game Animal Council (GAC) to assess tahr survivorship through the Perth River predator removal operation found that tahr are not at risk from 1080.
Before the operation began, which included the use of aerial 1080 using a modified application technique, GAC personnel fitted 21 tahr with radio transmitter collars. Results showed that tahr survival was extremely high; in fact, none of the monitored tahr died as a result of the operation, says GAC.
“Tahr in the Southern Alps are a highly-valued game animal species and a world-renowned hunting resource, which is why the GAC was pleased to work with ZIP and contribute to this project,” said Game Animal Council general manager Tim Gale.
“We are excited about this research; it is vitally important that we fully understand the impact of predator control operations on game animal species.
“Hunters have questioned the effect of 1080 on tahr, both for the impacts on their hunting resource and because of potential kea by-kill. This study provides scientific evidence of high tahr survivorship, allaying those concerns.”
ZIP Innovation director Phil Bell said, “ZIP really appreciated the opportunity to collaborate with the hunting community and, in particular, with the Game Animal Council on this project. The results speak for themselves. Hunters can now feel confident that tahr are not at risk from 1080.”
The full report, authored by Geoff Kerr, professor of environmental management at Lincoln University and former Game Animal Councillor, is available on zip.org.nz.
Game Animal Council said the project also benefitted from advice and feedback from the New Zealand chapter of Safari Club International, the New Zealand Deerstalkers’ Association, the New Zealand Professional Hunting Guides Association, and Department of Conservation.