Why is it called Tahr Bar and Cafe?
What's in the name?
The Tahr Bar and Café is named after "New Zealand's Monarch of the Mountains", the Himalayan Tahr that live in the alpine grasslands above 1500 metres.
New Zealand is the only country in the world where Tahr are freely hunted in the open. Visitors come from all over the globe to hunt the Tahr.
They are often hard to find as they lie in extreme environments and are very fast and agile in steep and rugged country. Their hooves have soft rubbery and slightly convex pads which give them a good grip on smooth rocks, and a hard sharp rim which gives them footholds as they climb and descend.
They have exceptional eyesight and excellent hearing and sense of smell. They are very hairy, with a small head, long straight narrow face and have a high pitched alarm call, befitting their other nickname, "king of the mountain goats." They have triangular-shaped symmetrical horns, to about 45 cm in length, and long hairy manes of shaggy brown hair.
The sight of a magnificent male, glinting reddish brown in the afternoon sun, is magic to a hunter. Adult males weight 130 - 185 kg, and they generally live 10 - 15 years.
Tahr were introduced for sport from England in 1904 when the Duke of Bedford sent a small shipment of three males and three females out to the NZ government from his herd at Woburn Abbey. One apparently jumped overboard so only five arrived. In 1908 the Duke sent another eight which were released near Aoraki Mt Cook.
The Tahr quickly adapted to their new environment, eating snow tussock, alpine herbs including the Mount Cook lily and sub alpine shrub land plants such as the native broom. Numbers grew to pest proportions and in 1937 the government introduced shooting controls, followed by 1080 poisoning in 1960.
The Department of Conservation now operates a Himalayan tahr Control Plan and aims to keep total numbers below 10,000. Local tahr are within the Gammack - Two Thumb Management Unit and are monitored for population trends, the effects of hunting and their impact on vegetation.