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Duchess of Bedford to Dedicate Tahr Statue

13th March 2014

Duchess of Bedford to Dedicate Tahr Statue

“We are extremely pleased that our tahr statue will be dedicated by Henrietta, Dowager Duchess of Bedford in recognition of the contribution made by the Dukes of Bedford and the Russell family, to the preservation of the Himalayan tahr internationally,” said Garry Ottmann Executive Director of the Game and Forest Foundation.

Thomas Donne and his New Zealand Tourist Department during the early 1900s undertook a program of introducing some of the world’s premier game animals into New Zealand. His intention was to:

“…. induce the world traveller to include New Zealand in his itinerary and to tempt our Australian neighbours to come across the Tasman Sea to enjoy the physical marvels and delightful climate of New Zealand.”

In 1904, the Duke of Bedford presented the NZ Government with a gift of three male and three female Himalayan tahr from his private herd at Woburn Park, Bedfordshire, in Great Britain. One animal died on the sea voyage but the remaining five tahr were released near the old Hermitage at Mt Cook where they adapted well to their new surroundings. In 1909, the Duke sent a further shipment of another six males and two females, which were also released in the same area.

New Zealand has the only substantial wild herd of tahr outside their native India and Nepal. Internationally tahr are listed on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) “Red List” of endangered species. On this list tahr are designated as “Near Threatened” said Garry Ottmann.

Tahr today are a national and international conservation and hunting resource. New Zealand is the only country where tahr can be hunted in a free-range natural alpine environment. Thousands of locals and international visitors hunt tahr in New Zealand each year generating millions of dollars for the New Zealand economy.

“There can be no more fitting a place for the monument to such an important animal to New Zealand than on a large boulder overlooking Lake Pukaki framed by Aoraki, Mt Cook. Thomas Donne’s original goal has been more than realised” said Garry Ottmann

Venue: the Lake Pukaki Visitor area, SH8 commencing at 3PM.

ENDS

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