Protecting Wilderness and National Parks

The Kossie Horse Plan – one small step for nature-based park management

“Today, after eight years, a horse management plan for the thousands of feral horses in Kosciuszko National Park and adjoining state forests has been released. The plan relies upon attracting feral horses into yards and trucking them out. This is slow and expensive method of control. NSW Government needs to remove feral horses more efficiently from its parks,” said Keith Muir, Director of the Colong Foundation for Wilderness.

“Feral horses compete with native wildlife, disperse weeds and cause serious stream pollution. As a result, park visitors are more likely to seek a feral horse than a grey kangaroo or an emu,” he said.

“The park's feral horse population is at least 3,000, and baring major wildfires and droughts, grows at 100 to 300 horses a year. So control methods only start to bite when more than 300 horses are removed from the park a year. Mustering on that scale is a major drain on park finances,” said Mr Muir.

“The Colong Foundation continues to support aerial shooting of feral horses because it is the quickest and most humane way to control method of vertebrate pests. All the shooters involved would be trained by instructors from the NSW Police Service, Department of Agriculture, and the Rural Lands Protection Board. Any shooting would be monitored using the strictest protocols and the RSPCA,” he said. ”

“We call on the Government to remove the aerial shooting ban on of horses in parks. Aerial shooting does occur in Outback Australia , so why not use it to protect sensitive Alpine ecology?” asks Mr Muir.

“The Government have put humane and effective control of feral horses in the too hard basket, while, at the same time, it allows endangered dingo populations to become extinct by using poison baits in the park. The Colong Foundation believes that national park management must continue to become more nature-focused if wildlife is to survive under accelerating climate change, said Mr Muir.

Just over the border in the ACT, park management has a zero tolerance policy on feral horses. In Kosciuszko, a similar policy will be applied to the Main Range and the limestone country in the north, which is a good step in the right direction.”

The Colong Foundation is also pleased that brumby running has been rejected as a pest control method. Brumby running often results in injury to horses and riders. As a control method, it doesn't work, as evidenced in Guy Fawkes National Park ” he said.

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