Kosciuszko's threatened 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.
- 5 ecological communities.
Wildlife at risk
Feral horses trample and graze Latham’s snipe food sources and habitat.
Feral horses occupying their small and specific habitat have the potential to out-compete the broad-toothed mouse for food.
The total population of the world’s mountain pigmy-possums is tiny and at risk, estimated at around 3050 adults.
The alpine she-oak skink only exists in a very small, unique part of Australia, and its habitat is being seriously degraded.
Major threats to the Guthega skink include trampling by feral pigs, deer and horses.
Habitat loss and modification by feral horses has been identified as a major threat to alpine tree frogs.
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.
Reiks freshwater crayfish is a shy and shiny crustacean, and only lives in freshwater alpine wetlands in Kosciuszko National Park.
The southern corroboree frog only exists within Kosciuszko National Park and depends on small, still ponds and sphagnum bogs to breed and lay eggs.
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.
Native plants at risk
Swamp everlasting grows in swamps and bogs that are often dominated by heaths. Feral horses, deer and cattle grazing are among their threats.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The slender greenhood is threatened by feral horses, pigs grazing and tramping as well as weed invasion.
The mountain greenhood is threatened by feral horse grazing and trampling, weeds and climate-change induced droughts.
Feral animals, including horses, deer and goats grazing and trampling, all threaten pale pomaderris.
A small population of the critically endangered clover glycine was only recently discovered in Kosciuszko National Park.
Feral horses and pigs grazing and trampling are among the threats to the pale golden moths orchid.
Feral horses have recently been observed browsing and trampling leafy anchor plant.
Raleigh sedge is found only in areas above about 1000m, with most populations in Kosciuzsko National Park and a few other locations.
Archer’s Carex in NSW it is only known in Kosciuszko National Park and the upper Thredbo River area
The Max Mueller’s burr-daisy has been found in five sites in NSW, four of which lie within Kosciuszko National Park.
The mauve burr-daisy does not survive in heavily-grazed pastures.
The orchid Caladenia montana is found only in alpine areas of Kosciuszko National Park.
In NSW the black-hooded Sun Orchid only exists in two places, Botany Bay National Park, and Bago State Forest south of Tumut.
Kelton’s Leek Orchid is known from a single population that occurs in a small area.
It is thought only about 400 individual plants exist.
Feral horses grazing, trampling and pugging all threaten the Bago leek orchid.
Feral horses graze and trample the population of Thelmitra alpicola on the Bago plateau and Kiandra in Kosciuszko National Park.
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.
Kiandra leek orchid is browsed by feral horses. It is also threatened by trampling.