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Moose continue to be camera shy

NICCI MCDOUGALL
Last updated 05:00 23/09/2013
 Ken Tustin
BARR HARCOURT

Deer, oh deer: Ken Tustin with some of the images captured by trail cameras in Fiordland.

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After three days of trawling through more than 20,000 photographs, Ken Tustin's hopes have again been dashed.

He was looking for just one picture that would prove his long-held belief that moose are still alive in Fiordland.

Mr Tustin has spent decades searching for the elusive animals.

Six months ago, he installed 15 new trail cameras, which are triggered by infrared and movement, to areas in Herrick Creek and the Henry Burn in the Wet Jacket Arm area in Fiordland.

The images from the cameras were retrieved last week.

"I had huge expectations."

Out of the 20,167 snaps it was hoped a moose would be captured.

Mr Tustin said the chances of snapping a moose were higher with the new cameras because they took a series of photos at a time, were more sensitive and had longer trigger distances.

While he got a good look at life in the bush, there were no moose photographs, but instead "thousands" of photos of red deer.

Mr Tustin's hopes were dashed again, but he has not given up.

He strongly believed there were moose in Fiordland, saying there was a trail of evidence, including DNA evidence from 2001 and 2002.

Mr Tustin has been on the hunt since 1972 after he was part of the Forest Service official moose survey. He convinced himself moose were in the area and has since spent an estimated 18 months' of his life searching.

"People say I'm obsessed about it, but I'm not. You can't do things half-hearted," he said.

Mr Tustin would continue to be patient and hoped to have a picture of a moose in his lifetime, because it would bring closure.

The photograph did not need to be taken by him, he said.

The 15 trail cameras remain in the bush taking photos, just waiting to click on a moose.

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- The Southland Times

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