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Kaimai Mamaku Wild Animal Control Operation Denied

Kaimai Mamaku Wild Animal Control Operation Application Declined


A controversial application by Lakeland Helicopters, Rotorua to undertake wild animal control operations in the Kaimai Mamaku Forest Park (KMFP) has today been declined by Department of Conservation Acting Northern Regional General Manager, Simon Kelton.

The concession application proposed wild animal control using helicopters for the shooting and retrieval of deer from the forest park.

The impact of deer on the Kaimai Range is reported as being most pronounced on the fragile high country where well formed deer tracks and localised severe browsing has been observed in recent years. The deer population in the KMFP is not monitored, although the numbers are generally considered to be very low in the northern Mamaku and Te Aroha areas, and medium in the central Kaimai Range.

To date the control of deer has been left to the recreational hunter, while the Department has focussed efforts on goat control.

More than 1400 public submissions were received following the notification of this proposed concession application, a vast majority of them (90%) against the proposal. A variety of reasons were given by submitters for their various positions on the proposed concession, including safety, noise, visual intrusion, the loss of remoteness, aesthetic and recreational values and the unsuitability of the land for commercial wild animal recovery.

In the report to the Regional General Manager it was recommended that the Department decline the application based on the following reasoning:
 The complex and narrow shape of the park and its unsuitability to commercial wild animal recovery operations;
 The inability of the applicant to mitigate the effects on the general recreational use of the park, the perceived safety concerns by the public, or on aesthetic values, through noise and perceived intrusion;


 The strength of public opinion in opposition to the application.

Future action proposed by the Department includes
 consulting with the Bay of Plenty Conservation Board in relation to the commercial use of helicopters in the Kaimai-Mamaku Forest Park (not including management or emergency purposes),
 monitoring the deer numbers in the Kaimai-Mamaku Forest Park in conjunction with the current monitoring of possums,
 consulting with recreational hunting groups to maximise their effectiveness,
 preparing an integrated wild animal management plan for the Kaimai-Mamaku Forest Park that is in accordance with national plans, and
 undertaking management activities in the Kaimai-Mamaku Forest Park, using helicopters where necessary.

The Department is required to encourage recreation that is not inconsistent with the primary objective of the protection of the natural resources of the land that it administers.
This has been a controversial application as the Park is used for a wide variety of recreational activities, including recreational hunting. The recreational use for hunting, and the quality of experience, must be weighed against the need to ensure the maintenance and enhancement of the forest in the long term.

ends


For further information please contact Andrew Baucke, Area Manager Tauranga Area Office, Department of Conservation ph (07) 578 7677

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