There’s no denying the truth. Figures released today under FOI reiterate the fact Kosciuszko horse numbers are climbing, and a solution is desperately needed.
The new figures, obtained by Reclaim Kosci under NSW Freedom of Information laws, show that the feral horse herd swelled from 2144 to 3110 between June 2017 and September 2019 – IN JUST ONE SECTION of northern Kosciuszko National Park.
That’s an increase of 966 destructive horses in northern Kosciuszko over just two years – or a whopping 45 per cent.
There are more than 20,000 feral horses across the whole of Kosciuszko National Park, and this number was largely unaffected by last summer’s bushfires.
Data source: NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment.
Feral horse management looms as a major issue in the lead-up to this Saturday’s Eden-Monaro federal by-election, with independent polling commissioned by The Australia Institute showing that the majority of local voters want horses removed.
Feral horses chew the delicate alpine vegetation to the ground and trample streams and bogs with their hard hooves, destroying the unique alpine landscape and turning the park into a paddock.
“The more feral horses, the more this iconic Australian national park is being degraded beyond recognition. It’s that simple,” Reclaim Kosci campaigner Anthony Sharwood said.
“In 2018, NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro pushed through the Kosciuszko Wild Horse Heritage Act, an unprecedented piece of legislation which enshrined in law the protection of a feral animal in a national park.
“Mr Barilaro recently called for a recount of feral horses in the park. Well, here are the numbers – a 45 per cent increase in two years in just one small part of Kosciuszko.
“We know that the fires which scorched a third of Kosciuszko National Park last summer had almost no impact on the overall herd, and we know that they just keep breeding and feeding.
“The plants, rivers and wildlife of Kosciuszko can’t cope in the face of an onslaught of 80,000 hooves.
“Rare, beautiful creatures like the corroboree frogs are now on life support in plastic peat moss containers at the threatened species recovery program at Sydney’s Taronga Zoo.
“If the explosion in feral horse numbers is not swiftly controlled, that’s the only place you’ll be able to see them.”
Source: Department of Planning, Industry and Environment
>> Download the latest horse count map
The annual aerial count conducted by the New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service records horses sighted over selected open plains in northern Kosciuszko National Park.
- Anthony Sharwood, Reclaim Kosci – 0447 724 303.
- Andrew Cox, Invasive Species Council CEO – 0438 588 040