Today’s two-year anniversary of the passing into law of the NSW government’s damaging brumby protection bill has seen horse numbers in Kosciuszko National Park rise to their highest level yet.
Reclaim Kosci marked the occasion by reiterating their call for the repeal of the law protecting the feral horse invaders.
“This is one of the most environmentally damaging pieces of lawmaking in the history of NSW,” said Andrew Cox, Reclaim Kosci spokesperson.
“If candidates for the Eden-Monaro by-election want to prove they care for the environment, they need to call for action to protect the electorate’s iconic Kosciuszko National Park.”
“Tourism, jobs, catchments, Indigenous heritage, motorist and camper safety, and wildlife are under serious threat.”
“The 2018 horse law is a failure. In the two years since the controversial bill passed into law the feral horse population has increased by thousands with only 99 horses removed![I]“
Meanwhile, Reclaim Kosci, representing scientists, farmers, former park rangers and the environmental lobby have reiterated calls for the repeal of the law.
“The forces of nature dictate numbers have to be properly managed in the interests of protecting Australian native species now gravely threatened by the 400 kilogram hoofed invaders,” according to Richard Swain, Invasive Species Council Indigenous ambassador.
“One thing can be certain, the feral horses are behaving in a manner true to their reputation of eating like horses and removing what remains of the alpine plains and meadows,” said Mr Swain.
What’s more, the legislated retention of feral horses in Kosciuszko is based on mythical support, supposedly drawn from the famous ‘Man From Snowy River’ poem by Banjo Patterson.
The reality is Banjo himself warned if the early settlers “didn’t get rid of the horses the horses would get rid of them”.
“The wild horses got to be as big a plague as the wallabies and rabbits were in later times,” Banjo said. With the last official count in the park of about 20,000 that plague situation is now here.
A new report[ii] by three distinguished protected area specialists who returned to five long-term survey sites earlier this year found that feral horse damage was the “worst ever observed in the 4o years of personal observation.”
The authors identified “unprecedented, pervasive and destructive feral horse impacts” over 43 km of treeless drainage lines and in federally listed endangered bog and fen vegetation communities.
ANU Professor Jamie Pittock, said there were glass display enclosures at Taronga Zoo and Jindabyne of threatened alpine species and without urgent action to control feral horses in the future they would likely be the only examples of these animals our grandchildren would be able to see.
“Never in their wildest dreams did the park founders ever envisage the park being overrun by feral horses as it is today.
“The work of thousands of volunteers, scientists and rangers over the decades since is rapidly being undone by the explosion in feral horse numbers” Mr Pittock said.
- Vision for download includes large mobs of feral horses and interviews with fifth generation farmer Peter Davis, Prof Jamie Pittock and Invasive Species Council CEO Andrew Cox
- New damage photos and report comparing damage to field sites seven years apart
[I] We estimate the horse population grew by 7,000 in the last two years based on the information provided in the last scientific survey. This was calculated by taking the estimated 6,000 base feral horse population of Kosciuszko National Park determined by the 2014 aerial survey (Cairns 2014) and increasing it by 23% each year. If this exponential rate of increase is applied from 2014, in the two-year period 2018 to 2020, the population increases from 13,700 to 20,800 horses, a 7,100 increase. The 2019 aerial survey (Cairns 2019) found that across the entire Australian Alps, horse numbers had increased 23% each year over the five year period 2014-2019. In northern Kosciuszko, it was found that the population had increased by 37% each year in the same period.
[ii] Pulsford, I., Worboys, G.L. and D. Darlington (2020). Revisiting Observations of Pest Horse Impacts in the Australian Alps, March 2020, Canberra. Available at: https://theaustralianalps.files.wordpress.com/2020/05/revisiting-pest-horse-impacts-to-australian-alps-catchments-2020.pdf
A really powerful media release. Great work.
I am totally and visibly appalled by the continuing, even accelerated destruction of NSW national parks by the legislated feral horse sanctification whose chief proponent is the Deputy Premier of NSW!
Absolutely, all the feral horses must go and be kept out.
The damage I see from the horses is massive and getting worse each year I visit the KNP.
Great video. Hard hitting facts that should be a wake up call to our dozy politicians.
Horses are beautiful animals but they have no place in National Parks, no place amongst the incredibly fragile and unique Australian Alpine flora.
Horses have heritage significance since the settlement by ‘white-fellas’ but that should not equate with one sector of contemporary society influencing government policy to the detriment of the natural ecosystems of the High Country.
Politics in Australia seems to follow the extremes found elsewhere in the world. There is no reasonable argument for our woeful management of our natural resources. Whoever donates the most money to political influence will have the power to control it all.
Brumbies do not belong in our environmentally sensitive alpine areas!
Review your decisions based on Science and please remove all brumbies from highly vulnerable areas
Brumbies do not belong in our environmentally sensitive alpine areas!
Review your decisions based on Science and please remove all brumbies before more damage is done!
I am thunder struck that this culling program has been HIGH jACKED by people who don’t understand how delicate is the FRAGILITY of the Alpine Environment with its snow & short growing Season!
I understand the history having been to Beersheba but here is an extremely sensitive environment
that has the potential to all WASHAWAY in Global WARMING causing these horses a death thru Starvation!
It means “Bite the Bullet’ by trained Army Marks People in Helicopters is the only Avenue to ensure protection of the resident Unique Native ANIMALS!!!!
Using the NSW logic Should our feral pigs should be left to destroy our forest and wetlands because captain cook brought them thus they are part of our heritage
Those with the desire to keep the horses must be asked to put their money where their heart is and keep them in appropriate places.
The horses should be rounded up and shipped out to doting horse lovers as per the solution in the NEw Zealand Kaimanawas with feral horses in NZ. Those not wanted by horse lovers would be disposed of. Their choice.
Australia has no hard hoofed native animals but we seem to allow horses and others in the Northern Territory to destroy our native vegetation, including habitat for endangered frogs, and orchids. Why must this continue unless this is the plan of a federal government which has little regard for our environment. We should not rely on The Man From Snowy River as that was too long ago and we know better now as we have lost more than we are replacing.
Absolutely unbelievable that the NSW Govt. cannot see the damage these animals are doing.
They are NOT part of Australia’s heritage, are incredibly destructive to mainly flora but also, indirectly, fauna.
Time for ALL horses to go out of the park.
I agree entirely and previously have written to Barilaro and Kelly about it. I have written to Monaro Post also in the past but anti-brumby letters don’t get published.
Your article would be greatly improved if you gave REFERENCES to the two quotes from Patterson so people could check he really said this.
John Barilaro is the NSW Deputy Premier, member for Monaro and leader of the NSW Nationals Party. In 2018 he introduced and pushed through NSW Parliament a bill that protects feral horses within Kosciuszko National Park at the expense of the park’s natural values.
This bloke Barilaro should be sacked …….this bill is a disgrace…. man who has total lack of understanding.
We are very happy to kill rabbits, cane toads etc as we should be but horses, because they are so close to people have to be protected. Why when they are just as invasive? I’ve seen the damage they do and we must get rid of them in the alpine regions. Our Government has to stop being driven by the strongest lobby groups and use common sense.
NSW should get rid of the Heritage Horses Act. We need effective controls to get rid of invasive species from our National Parks. We need to get the horses out of KNP. Those candidates who support “all humane control options” are really just displacing their animal welfare concerns from native animals to invasive species. They are prioritising invasive species over native animals. Native animals suffer and die in inhumane ways as a result of feral horses. Some may even become extinct.
Browsing around on this subject led me to an interesting website: