Frequently Asked Questions

Here is a list of some of the questions and arguments that we in the Reclaim Kosci campaign have encountered. The list is a work in progress – many of our responses are still being written. New categories and new responses will be added to this page gradually. Reclaim Kosci welcomes offers from volunteers to draft responses.

About Reclaim Kosci

Where does Reclaim Kosci get its money from?

From donations and occasionally merchandise. Read more

Has Reclaim Kosci protested about Snowy 2.0?

Reclaim Kosci is a diverse group of people and organisations specifically interested in addressing the growing impacts from introduced horses. Many of our major environmental supporters have protested about Snowy 2.0 via different channels. NPA NSW, a founding organisation of Reclaim Kosci, has been leading a major campaign opposed to the Snowy 2.0 hydro-power expansion scheme. Read more

Claimed environmental benefits of feral horses

Are feral horses in Kosciuszko part of a ‘novel ecology’? (Coming soon)

Coming soon

Does grazing by feral horses reduce the risk of bush fires in Kosciuszko National Park?

Studies by CSIRO and university scientists have concluded that grazing does not reduce the severity or likelihood of bush fires in alpine national parks. Read more

Are there environmental benefits from feral horse dung? (Coming soon)

Coming soon

Do feral horses in Kosciuszko National Park fill the ecological niche of the large, heavy-footed animals of the Pleistocene era?

There is no evidence to support this view, and plenty of evidence against it. The extinction of the megafauna was due, partly or largely, to a changing environment [1]. The environmental ‘niche’ that the megafauna filled no longer exists, because that environment no longer exists. Read more

[1] Miller, G. H., Fogel, M. L., Magee, J. W., Gagan, M. K., Clarke, S. J., & Johnson, B. J. (2005). Ecosystem Collapse in Pleistocene Australia and a Human Role in Megafaunal Extinction. Science, 309(5732), 287–290. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1111288

Does the presence of feral horses help the Striated Sun Moth? (Coming soon)

Coming soon

Control methods – general

Is there a solution that does not involve killing animals? (Coming soon)

Coming soon

Control methods – brumby running

Should ‘brumby running’ be reinstated as a method of reducing the horse populations in national parks?

Brumby running is less humane than most methods of removing feral horses from national parks. It is also ineffective in terms of numbers of horses removed. Read more

Control methods – fencing

What are the advantages and disadvantages of fencing as a way of managing feral horses in Kosciuszko? (Coming soon)

Coming soon.

Control methods – fertility control

Is fertility control by darting mares feasible in Kosciuszko National Park?

No. Fertility control by darting of mares has not been successfully used to make a significant reduction in feral horse numbers in an area anything like the size of Kosciuszko National Park. An Australian trial in a limited area was not successful. Read more

Could Kosciuszko’s feral horses be managed in the same ways as the horses of Assateague Island, USA?

Assateague Island is very different to Kosciuszko National Park in size and topography. The techniques used on Assateague would be of no or very limited use in Kosciuszko. Read more

Control methods – passive trapping and re-homing

What are the advantages and disadvantages of re-homing? (Coming soon)

Coming soon

Control methods – reserves for feral horses, in park and off-park

What are the pros and cons of off-park brumby reserves? (Coming soon)

Coming soon.

Control methods – shooting  

How humane is ground shooting of feral horses? (Coming soon)

Coming soon.

How humane is aerial shooting of feral horses? (Coming soon)

Coming soon.

If feral horses are shot, will visitors to Kosciuszko National Park see dead horses on the ground?

Rarely. Visitors to national parks do not normally see animal carcasses, such as pigs and deer that are already routinely culled throughout Kosciuszko National Park. Culls occur in remote areas or areas that are temporarily inaccessible to the public. You are unlikely to see a carcass when visiting Kosciuszko’s favourite tourists routes, but might see a carcass if you are an experienced bushwalker navigating through remote areas. Read more

What are the pros and cons of letting recreational hunters shoot feral horses? (Coming soon)

Coming soon.

Economics

How important are feral horses in attracting tourists to Kosciuszko National Park? (Coming soon)

Coming soon.

Heritage

Do Kosciuszko’s feral horses have ‘heritage’ links to the high country pastoral industry?

The evidence that Kosciuszko’s feral horses have heritage value based on links to the high country pastoral industry is very mixed. Perceptions of wild horses have changed over time and historical records show that the idea of protecting brumbies is a modern one. Historical documents, including some written by Banjo Patterson, refer to wild horses as pests that interfered with pastoral activities and were shot. Even if such ‘heritage’ exists, it is worth asking whether heritage that causes harm should be preserved. Read more

Was the inclusion of horses in the Sydney Olympics opening ceremony evidence of 'heritage value' of brumbies? (Coming soon)

Coming soon.

Horse behaviour, damage

Why are they called feral horses? (Coming soon)

Coming soon.

Are brumbies a breed of horses?

No. They have very varied characteristics, are not selectively bred, and are genetically indistinguishable from Australia’s domesticated horses. Read more

Do feral horses in Australia carry parasitic worms? (Coming soon)

Coming soon.

Does Reclaim Kosci ‘blame the brumbies’? Why single them out, compared to pigs and other feral animals?

Reclaim Kosci focuses on the brumbies, which we call feral horses, because, unlike other damaging animals such as pigs, the NSW government has singled them out for special protection. Pigs, deer and other large feral animals are regularly culled in NSW national parks. We don’t blame the brumbies: if blame is necessary, we think it should be directed, not at any animals, but towards the people who allow brumbies to continue to damage national parks. Read more

Do feral horses cause environmental damage?

Many government agencies, scientists and groups of scientists have concluded that feral horses cause environmental damage. The scientific evidence of feral horse damage to Australia’s natural environment is clear, well researched and documented, and embodied in government determinations. And there are countless photos of brumbies damaging Kosciuszko and other national parks. Read more

Do feral horses in Australia’s alpine areas have any effect on climate change? (Coming soon)

Coming soon.

Horse damage compared to other damage

How much environmental damage is caused by feral horses, compared to damage by pigs, deer and other plant-eating animals? (Coming soon)

Coming soon.

Horse numbers

How many feral horses are in Kosciuszko NP? (Coming soon)

Coming soon.

Is there a minimum number of feral horses required to sustain a genetically healthy population? (Coming soon)

Coming soon.

Inaction

What will happen if the number of feral horses in Kosciuszko continues to grow? (Coming soon)

Coming soon.

Indigenous heritage

Are Indigenous voices being heard in the debate over Kosciuszko’s feral horses? (Coming soon)

Coming soon.

Politics

Should management of Kosciuszko’s feral horses be handed over to the locals?

Feral horse management is an issue of legitimate concern to people who live well beyond the area local to Kosciuszko National Park. These include the traditional custodians of the land, communities who rely on water from the catchments of Kosciuszko National Park, park visitors and people with relevant expertise. Read more

Threatened plants and animals

Has any Australian species gone extinct due to feral horses?

There is no evidence that any Australian plant or animal has gone extinct solely because of feral horses.  There is, however, evidence that feral horses are causing local extinctions of some Australian plants and animals, and that the horses will contribute to Australia-wide extinctions if horse numbers increase. Read more

How do feral horses affect corroboree frogs? (Coming soon)

Coming soon.

War – links with horses used in war

Are Kosciuszko’s feral horses direct descendants of World War 1 horses?

No. The feral horses presently in Kosciuszko National Park have no more connection to the horses used in World War 1 than any other Australian horse. Read more

Do feral horses have significant genetic links to World War 1 horses?

No. Feral horses share the genes of all domesticated horses living across Australia today. They are not genetically unique. They share genes with World War 1 horses simply because they are horses. Read more

Water

What effect do feral horses have on the catchments of the Murray, Murrumbidgee and Snowy Rivers? (Coming soon)

Coming soon.

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Kosciuszko National Park from destructive feral horses.

Reclaim Kosci represents a broad consortium of individuals and organisations that love Kosciuszko National Park and seek to protect it from the impacts of feral horses.

Reclaim Kosci respectfully acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the land on which we live, work and learn. We pay respect to elders past, present and future, and recognise the continuing connection of Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander peoples to the land, water and culture.