Record horse sightings

Got walking shoes and a camera?
You can help Reclaim Kosci this summer

 

In preparation for the call in early 2021 for submissions on the draft management plan for feral horses in Kosciuszko, we’d like your help in recording sightings of feral horses in Kosciuszko National Park and adjacent areas. We would like to determine the current extent of the feral horse population in the national park and surrounds.

We are particularly interested in sightings that indicate expansion of the horses into new areas. The previous (2016) draft plan for management of feral horses in Kosciuszko contained a map of the main horse-present areas. Based on that, we have drawn up a map (.gpx, .kml) of the areas with previously no or few feral horses. They include the Main Range from Mt Kosciuszko north to Mt Selwyn, the Grey Mare/Dargal area, all the Snowy River Valley upstream of Lake Jindabyne and some areas of the lower Snowy.

The areas of interest are outlined on our map. We have also included adjacent areas – Bimberi and Scabby Nature Reserves, and parts of the Namadgi close to the ACT/NSW border.

What to contribute

For each sighting, we need:

  • A photo, taken with your camera or phone
  • Location, as co-ordinates in any format, or a clear description such as ‘where Valentine Creek turns west, about 800 metres due west of Brassy peak’
  • Date
  • Observer name and contact details
  • Any additional information, such as total horse numbers, supporting information.

The photo should show:

  • Feral horses or
  • Signs (horse dung or crystal-clear hoofprints) in a location where these could not be due to authorized horse-trek groups

If you are not sure whether a location is used by horse treks, send us the photo anyway and we’ll work it out.

We are happy to receive photos taken in the past, as well as any you take this summer.

How to send us your photos

You can submit the photos

DONATE

Please support our campaign by making a tax-deductible donation today. 

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Sightings of pigs and deer

While you are looking for evidence of feral horses, please keep an eye out for evidence of pigs and deer. Please report any sightings by sending a photo, and via INaturalist. On INaturalist, please put ‘KNP pigs’ or ‘KNP deer’ in the ‘Add Tag’ field. 

The prints and dung of pigs and deer, and deer damage, can be hard to identify with confidence. Pig damage is usually fairly clear. So we’d prefer photos of the actual pigs and deer, and of pig damage, unless you are very confident.

 

What if you see no evidence of horses, pigs or deer?

That is very useful for us to know. Please email a GPS file, or a description of your route.

 

Using iNaturalist

Contributing your observations via iNaturalist is not essential but makes our work a little easier.

If you have not used iNaturalist before, take a look at the iNaturalist Getting Started page. It’s easy to add an observation after taking a photo with an iPhone or Android. Most phones will record and upload the location of your photos automatically. You can also add additional notes about what you observed. The best part is that you can still use the app when there’s no reception; you’ll just need to open up the app and let your data upload when you return to an area with reception. 

For each INaturalist observation:

1. Click observe and upload your photo or video

2. Type in species name

For horses, type Equus caballus

For pigs, type Sus scrofa

For deer, type Cervidae. Or if you are able to identify the genus and species, type in one of the following:
      – Dama dama
      – Cervus elaphus
      – Cervus timorensis
      – Cervus unicolor
      – Axis porcinus 

Further information on identifying deer is available.

3. Record the location

If recording in real-time – click the little green arrow in the bottom left to automatically find your location. You can also Zoom the INaturalist map to mark the spot. To be collated into our project, the location must be within Kosciuszko National Park, Bimberi Nature Reserve, Namagdi National Park or Scabby Nature Reserve. 

4. Add a note, if your observation is of horses in a new area

If your observation is for feral horses and the location is within one of the ‘new areas’ on our supplied map, please type ‘New area’ as the first text. You can still add other notes after ‘New area’ e.g. ’14 horses including 4 foals’ or ‘Seen at Doubtful Gap’ or ‘Horses seemed unafraid of humans and allowed us to move close’.

5. Project name

If your sighting meets all the project criteria (i.e you’ve added the species name and location) your sighting will be automatically added to our project ‘Feral horses, pigs and deer in Kosciuszko’. 

6. Submit

 

What about Park closures?

Some of the areas in Kosciuszko in which we are particularly interested are presently closed for fire recovery or other reasons, but some of these areas are likely to be opened in the next few months. Please check the NPWS web site for up-to-date closure information.

As at early November, the sections of interest in the lower Snowy are open and seem likely to stay open. Much of the northern section of interest, outlined in red, is closed. The closed sections in the north are marked with stripes on this map, but please use this as a rough guide only and check NPWS information before setting out. The road from Kiandra to Cabramurra is also closed.

The closed areas of Namadgi National Park are likely to remain closed until at least 2022, so we have excluded them from our areas-of-interest map.

Remember that NPWS now requires completion of a Trip Intentions Form for all back-country walks in national parks.

 

Questions?

Contact Linda at [email protected]  Linda can also help you with bushwalking information such as access routes and suggested camp sites.