The horse damage

Australia’s alpine plants and animals did not evolve with heavy, hard-hoofed animals and many rely on habitats that are now being severely damaged by horses.

In both NSW and Victoria, the scientific committees advising the governments on threatened species have concluded that feral horses are a major threat in alpine and sub alpine habitats. The NSW committee found that ‘habitat damage in streams, wetlands and adjacent riparian systems occurs through selective grazing, trampling, track creation, pugging (soil compaction), wallowing, dust bathing leading to stream bank slumping and destruction, stream course disturbance and incision and sphagnum bog and wetland destruction.’

All of Kosciuszko is sensitive to damage by feral horses. The greatest horse impacts have been focused in the most sensitive areas, especially wetlands, waterways, alpine and sub-alpine areas. Horse herds move annually into Main Range during spring and summer and they have also been seen on the alpine plateaus.

Like other introduced species, the invasion of feral horses across Australia is widespread. In NSW alone, introduced horses are found in at least 11 national parks and conservation areas (Ref 1). In total, it is estimated that there are around 400,000 feral horses in Australia. The majority of these are found in central and northern Australia where they are regularly controlled as they are considered environmental and agricultural pests (Ref 2).


Distribution of feral horses in Australia
Distribution of feral horses in Australia. Adapted from: Clarke GM et al (2000). Environmental Pest Species in Australia. Internal report, Department of the Environment and Heritage, Canberra. 

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.