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Truth An Endangered Species At DOC

Truth An Endangered Species At DOC

The Department of Conservation is misleading the public on the effect of thar on the Mt Cook lily," ACT New Zealand Agricultural, Forestry and Fisheries Spokesman Gerrard Eckhoff said today.

"Last night's current affairs programme, Sunday, highlighted the wholesale slaughter of thar on Mt Cook, and was based on the premise that these animals will destroy the iconic Mt Cook lily - nothing, however, could be further from the truth," said Mr Eckhoff.

"While existing abundantly throughout the South Island - my own Roxburgh property has large areas dominated by the lily, which lasts a mere fortnight before dying back. Although the lily is an iconic part of Mt Cook vegetation, there is no evidence to support claims that the presence of thar would result in the plant's extinction - the programme blatantly pointed out that Mt Cook vegetation is in a better state than it has been for at least the past 100 years.

"The Minister has lost control of his department, and it is common knowledge that DOC policy is dominated by Kevin Smith, a man well-known for his fundamentalist attitude to non-indigenous species. I do not believe it will be long before animal welfare concerns are expressed about DOC's methods of eliminating thar - one of the world's most threatened species.

"DOC's bizarre policy of killing mature bulls defies all logic, as the bulls are a highly prized trophy by hunters worldwide. If New Zealand had an effective conservation policy DOC would, perhaps, cull the nannies and leave the bulls - which provide economic benefits for hunters and communities. Unfortunately DOC tends to follow its own path and ignore the calls of the community. The economic benefits of thar are obvious to all except those blinded by ideology," said Mr Eckhoff.

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