Originally from Nepal, Northern India and Tibet, the Himalayan tahr was first released onto New Zealand’s highest mountain, Aoraki/Mt Cook in 1904, and Franz Josef areas before 1913. Thar have since stayed within close proximity, widening their range only a little north, southeast and west of Mt. Cook in the Central Southern Alps, more specifically Rakaia River right down to the Landsborough River.
Tahr were introduced here as part of the Department of Tourist and Health Resorts efforts to encourage overseas hunters to visit our shores and to provide tourists with opportunities for trophy hunting.
However, it was not until the late 1950s early 1960s that the legendary story teller, author and hunting guide Rex Forrester, put tahr on the top of the list of big game animals that overseas trophy hunters came to our shores to hunt.
An established breeding population grew to 50,000 animals overtime and caused severe damage over about 7000km2 of the Southern Alps. Numbers were reduced to around 3500 in the 1970s, but have now stabilised to around 1000 to 8000.