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Conservation zealots hijacking pest control

Conservation zealots hijacking pest control

A Conservation Department plan to classify Wapiti and Red Deer as pests instead of wildlife is yet another example of zealots in the Conservation Minister's office trying to take charge, says National's Conservation spokesman, Shane Ardern.

"Instead of focussing on possums, rats and stoats, the Department's Fiordland National Park Plan is giving top priority to the extermination of Wapiti and Red Deer.

"Current Wapiti numbers are low and vegetation is improving, which show that a managed control system for both Wapiti and Red Deer can, and does work.

"But this obviously isn't good enough for the Wellington-based bureaucrats in the Conservation Department who are advocating total eradication on environmental grounds.

"These people can't even argue the conservation issue because there has been no research done in this area by DOC. However recreational hunters claim that they are maintaining numbers at a sustainable level. And let's not forget that recreational hunting earns New Zealand $170 million a year.

"The Game Forest Foundation and recreational hunters are prepared to work with DOC to protect park values in the Wapiti area and this has our full support.

"National believes that good conservation goes hand in hand with community support and commonsense, and no bureaucratic interference will ever replace that," says Mr Ardern.

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