The ACT Government has sent a strong message to its NSW and Victorian counterparts with the release of the 2020 Namadgi National Park Feral Horse Management Plan.
Reclaim Kosci welcomes the plan, which contains tough new measures designed to protect horses from entering Namadgi from adjoining land and establishing populations in the park.
- Protection measures include cameras and on-the-ground surveillance to detect horse incursions.
- Control measures detailed in the new plan include passive trapping and humane destruction of horses on site, aerial shooting, and free-range ground shooting.
“Horses don’t respect boundaries,” ACT environment minister Mick Gentleman told Reclaim Kosci.
“There’s no border control for horses, so they will go where the feed and the environment is good for them.”
Reclaim Kosci spokesperson Anthony Sharwood said the ACT has led the way in eradicating feral horses in Namadgi in the past, and this revamped plan will ensure that horses don’t pollute Namadgi’s precious waterways and trample its rare alpine plants and animal habitats.”
This is a win for every Canberran who loves drinking clear, clean water, and for everyone who loves Namadgi, which is recovering slowly from last summer’s fires and cannot afford a four-hooved threat decimating its fragile ecosystems,” Mr Sharwood said.
The most recent aerial survey in 2019 estimated around 25,000 feral horses in the entire Australian Alps bioregion. The majority of these (around 20,0000) are in Kosciuszko National Park in NSW, with around 5,000 in the Victorian high country.
There are currently believed to be none in Namadgi National Park and the high country of the ACT.
“The other states need to sit up and take notice of the work being done by ACT environment minister Mick Gentleman,” Mr Sharwood said.
“In NSW, feral horses are protected by legislation passed in 2018. Because of the Wild Horse Heritage Act, vast areas of Kosciuszko are being ruined, with creeks becoming mudheaps, wetlands being destroyed, and native grasslands reduced to bare earth.”
This failure to manage horses adequately in NSW has led to growing horse numbers in the northern end of Kosciuszko National Park, meaning horses are ever more likely to cross into the ACT.
Victoria is now acting to reduce its feral horse threat after being delayed by court action, but its horse plan is not as comprehensive as the ACT’s.
“The ACT plan, which has just been signed off, is based on good science and strong animal welfare principles, and has the clearly stated objective of protecting the natural and cultural values of Namadgi National Park from the impacts of feral horses,” Mr Sharwood said.”
This plan should be the benchmark for feral horse management in NSW and Victoria.