Reclaim Kosci will be challenging all candidates running in the Eden Monaro by-election to declare their stance on protecting Kosciuszko National Park from thousands of feral horses.

“The destructive impacts of hard-hoofed grazing in the NSW Alps were recognised and acted on in the late 1960s when high country cattle grazing was ended to create what is now Australia’s largest alpine park,” Reclaim Kosci spokesperson Andrew Cox said today.

“It is astonishing that while cattle grazing was rightly banned from Kosciuszko National Park more than half a century ago, many thousands of feral horses now run rampant across this fragile landscape.

“We are calling on Eden-Monaro candidates to stand up for the protection of Kosciuszko National Park from all introduced hard-hooved grazing animals, and that includes feral horses.

“Cattle grazing licences were terminated at taxpayer expense last century and we were told Kosciuszko’s fragile alpine landscape would be protected from the impacts of hard-hoofed grazing animals.

“There should not be one rule for cattle and another for feral horses, both animals have no place in one of Australia’s most loved national parks.”

The drive headed by NSW Nationals leader John Barilaro to protect feral horses in Kosciuszko has allowed populations to explode, with an estimated 20,000 feral horses now running unrestrained across Kosciuszko’s high mountain plains and peat bogs.

“We are calling on all candidates to heed warnings from the scientific community that Kosciuszko National Park will suffer irreparable damage from feral horses if their numbers are not controlled as a matter of urgency.

“Feral horse impacts on water quality at the source of three iconic rivers – the Snowy, Murray and Murrumbidgee – makes it an important national issue for any potential new federal member.

“The upcoming Eden-Monaro by-election gives all candidates the chance to state their view on whether the original plan to end grazing in the park, including by feral horses, should be fully implemented,” Mr Cox said.

“Without urgent action to control feral horse numbers the only corroboree frogs our grandchildren will ever see will be those on display in glassed enclosures in Taronga Zoo and Jindabyne.”