Species at risk
Kosciuszko’s most vulnerable native plants and animals under threat
Feral horses are recognised in NSW as a key threat to native wildlife. In late November 2018 the NSW Scientific Committee listed ‘Degradation and loss by Feral Horses (brumbies, wild horses), Equus caballus’ as a key threatening process under the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Act.
The committee found that feral horses adversely affect threatened species or ecological communities, and that they could cause species or ecological communities that are not threatened to become threatened.
Kosciuszko National Park is home to many threatened native species likely to suffer from feral horse disturbance. At risk are:
- 23 threatened native plant species.
- 11 native animal species.
- 4 ecological communities.
Wildlife at risk
Species at risk: Latham’s snipe
Feral horses trample and graze Latham’s snipe food sources and habitat.
Species at risk: Broad-toothed mouse
Feral horses occupying their small and specific habitat have the potential to out-compete the broad-toothed mouse for food.
Species at risk: Mountain pygmy-possum
The total population of the world’s mountain pigmy-possums is tiny and at risk, estimated at around 3050 adults.
Species at risk: Alpine she-oak skink
The alpine she-oak skink only exists in a very small, unique part of Australia, and its habitat is being seriously degraded.
Species at risk: Guthega skink
Major threats to the Guthega skink include trampling by feral pigs, deer and horses.
Species at risk: Alpine tree frog
Habitat loss and modification by feral horses has been identified as a major threat to alpine tree frogs.
Species at risk: Northern corroboree frog
While the decline of the Northern corroboree frog is due primarily to the disease chytridiomycosis, preventing degradation of its breeding habitat is critical to the long-term future of the species.
Species at risk: Reiks freshwater crayfish
Reiks freshwater crayfish is a shy and shiny crustacean, and only lives in freshwater alpine wetlands in Kosciuszko National Park.
Species at risk: Alpine spiny crayfish
Habitat loss, trampling and grazing of creek-side vegetation pose serious threats to the alpine spiny crayfish, resulting in a reduction of water quality and impacting on their food sources and habitat.
Species at risk: Stocky galaxias
Just a single population of stocky galaxias is known to exist in Kosciuszko National Park. The larger distribution of this native fish species fell victim to the introduction of predatory feral trout.
Native plants at risk
Species at risk: Swamp everlasting
Swamp everlasting grows in swamps and bogs that are often dominated by heaths. Feral horses, deer and cattle grazing are among their threats.
Species at risk: Perisher wallaby-grass
Perisher wallaby-grass is only found in Kosciuszko National Park and has been recorded in the Perisher Valley and nearby creeks that drain into the Snowy River.
Species at risk: Feldmark grass
Feldmark grass lives only in a tiny area of Kosciuszko National Park in the sparse low vegetation of the bare rocky alpine slopes and ridges, one of the harshest environments in Australia.
Species at risk: Monaro golden daisy
The Monaro golden daisy is highly susceptible to grazing, living now in only a small number of populations on roadsides, un-grazed reserves and very lightly grazed pastures on private lands.
Species at risk: Blue-tongued greenhood
The blue-tongued greenhood grows very close to water and in sphagnum bogs where feral horses and pigs grazing and trampling threaten this lovely orchid.
Species at risk: Slender greenhood
The slender greenhood is threatened by feral horses, pigs grazing and tramping as well as weed invasion.
Species at risk: Mountain greenhood
The mountain greenhood is threatened by feral horse grazing and trampling, weeds and climate-change induced droughts.
Species at risk: Pale pomaderris
Feral animals, including horses, deer and goats grazing and trampling, all threaten pale pomaderris.
Species at risk: Clover glycine
A small population of the critically endangered clover glycine was only recently discovered in Kosciuszko National Park.
Species at risk: Pale golden moths orchid
Feral horses and pigs grazing and trampling are among the threats to the pale golden moths orchid.
Species at risk: Leafy anchor plant
Feral horses have recently been observed browsing and trampling leafy anchor plant.
Species at risk: Raleigh sedge
Raleigh sedge is found only in areas above about 1000m, with most populations in Kosciuzsko National Park and a few other locations.
Species at risk: Archer’s carex
Archer’s Carex in NSW it is only known in Kosciuszko National Park and the upper Thredbo River area
Species at risk: Max Mueller’s burr-daisy
The Max Mueller’s burr-daisy has been found in five sites in NSW, four of which lie within Kosciuszko National Park.
Species at risk: Mauve burr-daisy
The mauve burr-daisy does not survive in heavily-grazed pastures.
Species at risk: Caladenia montana
The orchid Caladenia montana is found only in alpine areas of Kosciuszko National Park.
Species at risk: Black-hooded sun orchid
In NSW the black-hooded Sun Orchid only exists in two places, Botany Bay National Park, and Bago State Forest south of Tumut.
Species at risk: Kelton’s leek orchid
Kelton’s Leek Orchid is known from a single population that occurs in a small area.
Species at risk: Brandy Mary’s leek orchid
It is thought only about 400 individual plants exist.
Species at risk: Bago leek orchid
Feral horses grazing, trampling and pugging all threaten the Bago leek orchid.
Species at risk: Thelmitra alpicola
Feral horses graze and trample the population of Thelmitra alpicola on the Bago plateau and Kiandra in Kosciuszko National Park.
Species at risk: Anemone buttercup
Anemone buttercup is found in areas of late melting snow on south to east facing slopes. It is palatable to feral horses, deer, rabbits and cattle.
Species at risk: Kiandra leek orchid
Kiandra leek orchid is browsed by feral horses. It is also threatened by trampling.
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.