The NSW Government’s draft Kosciuszko feral horse plan released today has promised a significant reduction in feral horses in the park, but also locks in damage to key areas in one of Australia ‘s favourite national parks.
“The new draft plan aims to increase areas of Kosciuszko free of feral horses from 47% to 68%, which is significant progress. Areas in the north, west and around the alpine regions will have horses entirely removed,” Invasive Species Council conservation director James Trezise said today.
“Unfortunately, the plan aims to leave 3000 horses trampling a third of the park which will lock in long-term environmental damage for these areas.
“The Long Plain, Currango Plain and Snowy Plains in the north and Byadbo, Snowy River and Pilot areas in the south will have to suffer permanent horse populations.
“We can have the current number of 14,000 feral horses in Kosciuszko National Park, or we can have healthy ecosystems and recovering native wildlife but we can’t have both.
“In an important breakthrough, the draft plan provides for ground shooting, one of the most effective and humane options for feral horse control.
“But the plan falls short in rejecting the most effective control method aerial shooting necessary in rugged parts of Kosciuszko.
“Feral horses damage sensitive ecosystems and harm unique wildlife in Kosciuszko. They are a danger to motorists and a financial burden to NSW taxpayers.
“Trapping and rehoming horses has proven to be inadequate for feral horse control unless accompanied by other control measures.
“The real test will be whether the NSW Government can finally deliver a plan to reduce horses in Kosciuszko. Time is running out for the Alps and our Australian wildlife,” Mr Trezise said.
The plan is the result of controversial legislation introduced in June 2018 that overrode the Kosciuszko National Park Plan of Management and abandoned an earlier draft horse plan that had widespread support.
Mr Trezise said, “The community has been waiting for this plan since 2014. It has gone through the prolonged process John Barilaro legislated. Now it’s time to act.
“We appreciate that there is a lot of emotion when it comes to horses in Kosciuszko. But failure to act will consign native Australian wildlife and our natural and Indigenous heritage to a grim future.”
In 1989 my partner and I walked,snowshoed for the winter in KNP. Spent a lot of time in the Northern parts.There were no horses around Currango.Streams were pristine. Also around Old Currango.As they were around Long Plain. We did see a mob of about 14 above Hain’s Hut. Two with coats on.
There were just a few horses around Cascade Hut.
“Horse parties” became a problem to bushwalkers. They took over huts. Like Cooinbil. There were fenced places to keep the horses..
I find it so sad that one man’s poem could destroy a National Park. He would not have wanted that.
It is Peter Cochran and his business supported by John Barilaro _The Heritage Horse Bill and the inaction of many State Govts. that has led to the destruction of this Park. I am just one voice.
In the 1940.s The Liberal Premier rode in to the Park and declared it a special place in order to preserve water quality for the Snowy Scheme. All cattle and sheep gone. A precious part of our landscape restored.
I am sorry that our forbears were not listened to.