Fighting for the Brumby

RSPCA: the Royal Society for the PREVENTION of Cruelty to Animals

“RSPCA Vic SUPPORTS lethal ground shooting and state it’s RELATIVE HUMANENESS”

Humaneness: compassion, kindness, mercy, empathy, tenderness the list goes on… something to think about

The population of feral horses running wild in the Australian Alps has exploded to 25,000.

Wild horses blamed for ecological disaster

2:53Wild horses blamed for ecological disaster

Feral horses are running riot across the Australian Alps, with numbers exploding in the past five years prompting experts to warn of an ecological disaster.

The Murray-Darling River system relies on about 30 per cent of its water seeping and flowing from the Australian Alps.

Wild horses roam in the Kosciuszko National Park
Wild horses roam in the Kosciuszko National ParkCredit:Joe Armao

The majority of the horses – more than 15,000 – are in the north Kosciuszko National Park, according to the 2019 Australian Alps Feral Horse Aerial Survey. The Murrumbidgee River springs from this area. Collapsed and compacted river banks caused by flailing hooves is a common sight.

More than 8000 wild horses were also detected in an area running south from Mt Kosciuszko and across the Victorian-NSW border, which is where the Murray River begins.

When The Age/The Sydney Morning Herald flew by helicopter to the remote source of the Murray late last month, evidence of damage was clear. Moss beds at the very start of Australia’s only great river had been trashed and “pugged” by horse hooves, preventing water from moving.

The feral horse survey was carried out in autumn this year on behalf of the Australian Alps National Parks Co-operative Management Program working with Parks Victoria, the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service and the ACT Parks and Conservation Service.

With the program expecting a backlash from pro-brumby groups, the survey was subjected to independent peer review by CSIRO Australia and internationally respected experts from St Andrews University, Scotland.

The result was a population estimate of wild horses in the alps that had increased from 9187 in 2014 to 25,318 in 2019: an increase of 23 per cent each year.

Although Victoria has a program of culling wild horses, the NSW government controversially passed legislation in 2018 that granted heritage status to wild horses, effectively protecting them from large-scale culling.

In for a drink: Brumbies near Kiandra off the Snowy Mountain Highway.
In for a drink: Brumbies near Kiandra off the Snowy Mountain Highway.Credit:Joe Armao

The legislation was championed by the NSW Nationals leader, John Barilaro – whose constituency of Monaro covers the park.

With Barilaro and the NSW Liberal Environment Minister, Matt Kean, at odds over the issue, Kean reacted to the survey this week by declaring the number of wild horses was “unacceptable and unsustainable for our natural environment”.

“The NSW government will take steps to reduce the number of horses in the national park in a humane way, working with the community and scientific advisory committees,” he said.

The Victorian Environment Minister, Lily D’Ambrosio, said the survey results “are why our planned feral horse control programs, which protect the threatened Australian Alps environment, are so important”.

“Feral horses are not a natural part of the Australian Alps environment – they cause damage and threaten the biodiversity of the unique landscape,” D’Ambrosio said.

Invasive Species Council chief executive Andrew Cox said it was rare to see a wild horse in the mountains in the 1970s, but “an out of control horse plague” was now trashing the natural values at Kosciuszko.

“Do we watch it be ruined, or manage it as a National Park?” Cox asked.

Numbers of feral horses in the Kosciuszko National Park have been soaring while the NSW government puts off reduction efforts for another year.

‘Just crazy’: Kosciuszko feral horse herds swell as government dithers

The NSW “Brumbies Bill” effectively killed a 2016 draft plan by the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage that recommended cutting the park’s horse population to 600 over 20 years.

But despite the dramatic increase in numbers since then, only 99 horses have been trapped and removed this year. Park management announced at the end of last month that following concerns about danger to campers, 67 stallions, 24 mares and eight yearlings were removed.

The Australian Capital Territory, whose alpine and water-catchment region joins the Kosciuszko park, has a policy of shooting wild horses to protect Canberra’s water supply.

The ACT Environment Minister, Mick Gentleman, said feral horses “do not recognise state boundaries and the scientific evidence is clear – heavy hoofed pests such as feral horses are damaging the landscape”.

The Kosciuszko National Park’s management announced recently that aerial shooting of wild pigs and deer was to begin this week, and other feral animals such as foxes, goats, and wild dogs would also be targeted. But feral horses would be spared.

  • With Michael Foley and Peter Hannam.

Okay people here’s another example of what’s getting about on social media .If we don’t ramp up our campaigns against all this we will stand to lose a lot of horses both sides of the border .All this is unfactual biased reporting from the anti horse brigade with no substance but the public are believing this as the truth NOW is the time to take it up a couple of notches and let the government know we will not stand for this until there has been a RE COUNT.

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Published by Nelle

I am interested in writing short stories for my pleasure and my family's but although I have published four family books I will not go down that path again but still want what I write out there so I will see how this goes

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