Game Animal Council general manager Tim Gale responded to Forest & Bird‘s comment that DOC’s plan for feral deer and pigs misses the mark on climate, by saying the conservation group “misrepresents” Te Ara ki Mua.
“It is incredibly disappointing to see Forest & Bird distort what Te Ara ki Mua is about and the potential it has for delivering significant conservation and game animal management benefits,” said Gale.
“Te Ara ki Mua rightly recognises that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to game animal management in New Zealand. Different populations in different places require different strategies and these must be underpinned by science and involve collaboration with local communities.”
He added that this challenge should not be characterised as being about “conservation interests vs hunting interests”.
“Hunters and hunting organisations care deeply about the health of the ecosystem and do more to help manage game animal populations than anybody else.”
Gale said the wild animal management strategy also applies to goats, which are not a game animal.
“Goats are a major issue, and the Game Animal Council understands and supports the significant effort that DOC is planning to put into goat control to reduce numbers.
“It is incredibly frustrating that rather than collaborating on better management, Forest & Bird are more focused on throwing rocks from the sidelines. This is disappointing because there are a lot of people working extremely hard to achieve outcomes that can benefit all New Zealanders.
“It is also unfortunate that Forest & Bird continue to focus on the impact of deer on carbon storage in forests when that issue is still very difficult to calculate, uncertain and highly contested.
“The Game Animal Council, DOC, and all those interested in improving conservation and game animal management need to work together. If we do that, we can achieve some really good outcomes for New Zealand.”