The effects of hunting on the numbers and group sizes of Himalayan thar (Hemitragus jemlahicus) In Carneys Creek, Rangitata catchment
- Protection Forestry Division, Forest Research Institute, New Zealand Forest Service, Christchurch, New Zealand
A census of the Himalayan thar (Hemitragus jemlahicus) in Carneys Creek, a tributary of the Havelock branch of the Rangitata River, was undertaken in 1965, when thar were at about peak density, and repeated in 1977. In the intervening 12 years, the population was hunted from the ground for recreation, and from helicopters for animal control purposes and commercially for meat. This paper describes the results of the two censuses and discusses the differences.
The 1965 census was 710 thar, the 1977 census was 48 thar. This is a decrease of 93% from 32.9 animals/km2 (825 kg/km2) to 2.2 animals/km2 (56 kg/km2). One half of the thar seen in 1965 were in groups of 31 animals or more (mean group size 15.8), whereas the largest group seen in 1977 was of 7 animals (mean group size 3.2). Female-juvenile groups comprised more than 90% of the thar seen in both censuses.