Good news for hunters, taxpayers, and Fiordland – Forest & Bird have paused their legal action against the Fiordland Wapiti Foundation.

And Forest & Bird’s chief executive has acknowledged conservation work can continue without the extermination of wapiti.

Well done to everyone who spoke out against this legal action. Advocacy from hunters, some of whom are Forest & Bird members, has clearly made an impact here.

The Fiordland Wapiti Foundation undertakes conservation work for free that would otherwise cost taxpayers millions. The Foundation’s agreement with DoC is the gold standard in public-community partnership, but Forest & Bird’s judicial review, if successful, could have doomed the hunter-led conservation model.

I understand wapiti hunters are eagerly awaiting an update from the Ministers of Conservation and Hunting and Fishing on progress toward designating wapiti a herd of special interest. This would give the Foundation certainty to continue its conservation efforts and would set a precedent that could be replicated for other sensitive species.

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