Media release regarding the latest Collaboration between the Fiordland Wapiti Foundation, Department Of Conservation, and the Game Animal Council.
Media Statement 24 January 2022
A deer management project jointly developed by the Department of Conservation, Fiordland Wapiti Foundation (FWF) and the Game Animal Council is about to get underway in Fiordland National Park.
Designed to supplement existing management programmes, such as that annually undertaken by the FWF, this new project is intended to partially address the gap left by the reduction in wild animal recovery operations (WARO) due to depressed wild venison prices.
“Management will occur at locations to the west of the Murchison Mountains and south of the established wapiti range,” says DOC’s George Ledgard. “Monitoring in these areas indicates that with less WARO in recent years, work is needed to reduce deer numbers and protect sensitive alpine species such as the mountain buttercup and Fiordland mountain daisy.”
“Importantly the project will help maintain the high conservation values of both the Murchison Mountains, home of the takahē, and Secretary Island, Fiordland’s largest deer free island, which is within swimming distance of the mainland.”
“The buffer control work, which will also protect the wapiti area from incursion by red deer, is being partially funded by the FWF and it is hoped that some of the deer close to the wapiti boundaries will be recovered,” says FWF President Roy Sloan. “Specifically targeting around 300 females – the breeding animals. The project will also support the local helicopter industry that has been heavily hit by both the downturn in tourism and wild venison prices.”
The nearly 20-year partnership between DOC and the FWF, that includes game animal management and pest control programmes, has helped protect vulnerable native species while achieving a lower-density, high-quality wapiti herd prized by recreational hunters.
“The development of this programme and the ongoing collaboration between the hunting sector and DOC in Fiordland is a model for progressive game animal management in New Zealand,” says the Game Animal Council’s Tim Gale. “It is also an illustration of how well-planned management benefits both conservation and hunting with the reward being better hunting in an improved ecosystem.”
The programme is due to get underway during the next period of stable weather and will run over the next few months.
Wapiti, also referred to as elk, are the largest species of round horned deer in the world. The Fiordland herd is the only free-range wapiti herd in the Southern Hemisphere.
Contact: Roy Sloan, President, Fiordland Wapiti Foundation
Seems that these groups are working very well to reducing wild pests namely deer in Fiordland to very low levels. Expect it’s only a matter of time when they start reducing towards the proposed nil level by 2050 , and may even reach it earlier. Seems like the hunters are unwittingly doing themselves out of true Wild animals to pursue.
What involvement did the NZDA have in this? Just the thin edge of the wedge towards Forest & Birds push to get rid of all wild animals because of their methane emissions.
I wonder if DOC, NZDA and Game Council are aware of the 1949 American NZ Fiordland Expedition which was credible and independent. The conclusions said “for Fiordland no changes of economic consequence (through the continued presence of deer and wapiti) can result. Large areas of forest will remain their pristine condition through inaccessibility despite the continued presence of deer and the number of animals present cannot increase o any extent since the numerical strength of the herds is rigorously controlled by the limited area if good browsing range available.”
Looking on the bright side NZ is very lucky Wapiti ( Elk ) got introduced from North America , in the first place ! and are a great asset to both big game hunters & deer farmers alike ! yes they graze on the Bush , replacing what the Moa did before they became extinct ? going by the amount of gizzard stones found, we did indeed have at one stage a very large Moa population? so they did chew on a fair amount of Bush & Native Grass ! on that subject of interest? some Moa Species became extinct , possibly due to a huge drought ! as they headed for the Swamps for the last of the water & got stuck ? as that’s where a lot of Moa Bones are found today . So DOC please pull finger & look after the Wapiti & manage them properly , with an input from the NZ Deer Stalkers ? as we don’t want Wapiti becoming extinct like the Moa .