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Browse the 1966 Encyclopaedia of New Zealand
Graphic: An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand 1966.


This information was published in 1966 in An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock. It has not been corrected and will not be updated.

Up-to-date information can be found elsewhere in Te Ara.



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Chamois and Thar

Chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra) and thar (Hemitragus jemlacius) both live in the subalpine country of the South Island. Less than a dozen chamois (a European mountain antelope) were liberated in the Mount Cook area in 1907 and 1914, and 13 Himalayan Thar were introduced in 1904 and 1909 to the same area. In summer they occupy the open tussock grasslands up to the snow fields in the steep rocky regions of the South Island Alps, but in autumn and winter they may be found in subalpine forest down to about 500 metres altitude; thar, however, seem to remain at higher altitudes. Both species, especially chamois, have increased considerably and are reported to compete with stock for food and with deer to cause depletion of vegetation in the high country of the South Island. The present legislation lists chamois and thar as noxious animals. Between 1951 and 1958, 21,883 chamois and 5,883 thar were killed by official deer cullers.

Next Part: Feral Animals