The NSW parliament will be forced to debate the controversial protection of destructive feral horses in Kosciuszko National Park after a community campaign notched up 10,000 petition signatures this week calling for the repeal of the Kosciuszko Wild Horse Heritage Act.

The petition also calls for damage inflicted on Kosciuszko’s natural environment by feral horses to be repaired and for the implementation of the Kosciuszko National Park Draft Wild Horse Heritage Management Plan 2016.

Petition signing tables were set up throughout NSW. All signatures were from NSW residents, or people that have visited Kosciuszko National Park.

The largest number of signatories petitioning against the protection of feral horses in Kosciuszko National Park came from people in the seat of NSW Nationals leader and deputy leader of the coalition John Barilaro, who led the charge in protecting the destructive feral animals.

The petition was launched in November last year by ‘Save Kosci’ walkers as part of a 560km protest walk from Sydney to Kosciuszko. It took the group just four months to reach their goal of 10,000 signatures from across NSW.

“There is significant community concern over the heritage protection of horses in Kosciuszko National Park, which takes precedence over any other national park plan of management,” petition coordinator Linda Groom said.

“We will be presenting our petition to the new NSW government after the state election and calling for real action on feral horses in Kosciuszko National Park.

“Feral horses are destroying the habitats of vulnerable native species such as the corroboree frog, the broad-toothed mouse and the Guthega skink,” she said.

“They’re damaging the headwater catchments of the Snowy and Murray rivers and eroding and polluting streams.

“Reaching 10,000 signatures is a significant milestone, but we will continue to collect signatures. It will be some weeks before the NSW Parliament resumes. Every signature collected represents a conversation about the damage feral horses are inflicting on Kosciuszko National Park.”

Reclaim Kosci has been campaigning against the heritage listing of feral horses and is calling for the 2016 Kosciuszko National Park Draft Wild Horse Heritage Management Plan to be implemented as a first step in repairing feral horse damage. It is also calling on, and for the NSW government to restore mountain catchments and repair the slopes, wetlands and mountain streams that have been impacted by wild horses.

Under NSW Parliamentary rules, any petition that gathers more than 10,000 signatures must be debated in Parliament.