Protecting Wilderness and National Parks

National Parks must curb feral horse population growth

From what I heard this morning (ABC South East, 8.45 am) National Parks and Wildlife are about ready to cave in to the BUGs (Bush Users Group) vision of a managed herd of feral horses for Kosciuszko National Park.  For national parks to concede to such an extreme demand during a public exhibition process would be a poor practice,” said Mr Keith Muir, director of the Colong Foundation for Wilderness.

“If National Parks and Wildlife are prepared to throw its draft horse management plan in the rubbish basket to stop BUGs from attacking them, then they must now quickly pull it out again to retain any credibility”, Mr Muir urged.

“National Parks and Wildlife stand to lose their credibility if they can't stand up for their own science-based management proposals”, Mr Muir said.

“It they do not fight hard for the park, they will lose the battle.  Kossie will become rapidly degraded through the spoiling effects of increased feral horse numbers.  This mathematical certainty you can't put way in a file drawer and forget.  Horse numbers will grow and grow till the problem gets so big it will require more than the park's entire budget to fix.  Then you will find, when it is forever too late, that stronger measures were necessary all along”, Mr Muir said.

“I was, frankly, stunned to hear National Parks agree with BUGs regarding a managed herd of feral horses for Kosciuszko National Park”, Mr Muir said.

“BUG's views are an extreme position because a managed herd of feral horses will cost more money and do more damage to the park”, Mr Muir warned.

Mr Muir believes that “Farmers all over Australia aggressively control feral animals on their farms. Parks are no different, except that National Parks and Wildlife manages for wildlife instead of stock.  There are 300,000 feral horses in Australia and land managers struggle to contain these numbers all the time.  They do not muck about, they shoot horses”.

“It is one thing for National Parks to say that feral horses will be hard to eradicate. It is quite another to say they will manage feral horse numbers in the park.  National Parks must persevere with science-based management to reduce horse populations on the park by the quickest and most humane method”, he said.

“National Parks and Wildlife must manage the national park primarily for the benefit of wildlife and to start managing for feral horses is to lose the plot”, said Mr Muir.

For more info contact: Keith Muir, (02) 9261 2400 (wk) or 0412 791 404 (mob)