The great Tahr hunt


A Queenstown filmmaker has launched a spectacular wildlife documentary – seven years in the making – on the elusive Himalayan tahr goats. 

Local Steve Couper from Stealth Films joined forces with tahr enthusiast Ken Tustin to produce the recently-released Himalayan Tahr – New Zealand’s Mountain Monarchs

Cameraman Couper trekked into the rugged terrain at Ben McLeod Station in Canterbury’s Rangitata Gorge each winter for five years to capture the behaviour of the wild goats during mating season. 

Tustin began camping out and taking pictures in the area two years earlier. 

“It’s been a very nice thing to finish,” Couper laughs. 

“It’s something we can both be proud of. 

“It’s really nice to get an understanding of an animal that is poorly understood by the majority of New 

Tahr were first released in the South Island for sport in the early 1900s, thrived in the alpine environment, and now the herd is capped at about 10,000 animals. 

Also an avid hunter and fly fisherman – as well as being a wildlife documentary-maker – Couper intends to head back to the Rangitata Valley regularly. 

“I have a personal interest in those animals and enjoy spending time in the mountains observing them.” 

Anyone with the opportunity to observe the alpine goats “should grasp it with both hands”, he adds. 

Iran is the next stop on Couper’s itinerary – he’s filming a hunting trip there in a few weeks’ time.

The DVD can be purchased from the Stealth Films website.