Kosciuszko National Park Draft Wild Horse Management Plan
Have your say on the Draft Kosciuszko National Park Wild Horse Management Plan. Submissions close 5pm, 19 August 2016.
Here's what they have done in NPA NSW http://www.npansw.org.au/index.php/34-campaigns/park-protection/321-wild-horse-management
This Draft WHM Plan and its associated reports reflect the most professional, scientific and community based involvement in what is probably the largest review project ever undertaken by NPWS and the Department.
We should treat the Draft as a minimalist attempt to manage the horse population. With a 20 year timetable, and given the failure to implement the 2008 Plan to reduce horse numbers, there is no guarantee that this Plan won’t also be under-resourced or undermined again, largely through the involvement of the horse lobby.
The pro-horse people have and continue to program a significant campaign to influence the Minister and Government to back down on the Plan. That is, take out the only effective method of control, aerial mustering, and either do nothing, re-instate brumby running, and/or press for fertility control (with an emphasis on fertility control, while horses live a further 20+ years on park).
Making the feral horse plan contingent on the wishes of the horse lobby is certain to result in a set of control techniques that are constrained to those that require excessive human and financial resources. Such a plan cannot achieve the necessary population reductions. If this political contingency eventuates, then horse numbers will continue to grow over the next decade. The Plan and any WHM committee should operate at arms length from interest groups.
Horses are a beautiful animal, brought into Australia by early settlers along with other domestic stock, but certainly not native to Australia. Like other introduced hard-hoofed animals they compete for a living with native species and also seriously damage native habitat and water catchment values. Grazing licences for domestic stock have long been terminated in Kosciuszko National Park for just this reason. Effective control of the accelerating numbers of feral horses is long overdue and increasingly urgent.
What is more, the outcomes from this Plan have huge implications for the integrity of other national parks, Guy Fawkes and Barrington Tops included, where feral horse populations are also soaring.
What do we want?
ACTION NOW to substantially and rapidly reduce feral horse numbers through effective humane control measures;
Support for the Plan in its current form, with the following concerns need to be strongly put:
Feral horse numbers must be significantly reduced and soon (p.3 Objective 1; p.13)
Urgent and effective humane control measures, including aerial and ground shooting are needed without further delay (p. 24)
Feral animals should not be given national heritage status and is not acceptable to those who want to protect our fragile natural areas (pp 8 & 11)
An intuitive summary of the issue is presented by Isa McKenzie, in https://horsesfordiscourses.wordpress.com/2014/07/16/the-true-history-of-the-stockman-cattlemen-horses-and-aboriginal-disposession-in-australia/
Aboriginal cultural sites are still being damaged and destroyed by feral horses and horse riders
Rehoming/domestication of horses is not an adequate answer and has been a significant limiter to the 2008 Plan (pp. 4 & 30)
Only 18% of 3183 horses removed since 2002 have been rehomed, the remaining 82% have gone to abattoirs
Safety to visitors and travellers (from feral horses) and park staff (in pursuit of their job) are both important (p.19)
Fertility control does not work on large populations of free roaming horses (p.25)
See United States Bureau of Land Management ‘Wild Horse and Burro Program’ and recent investment of $US1 million in research to find effective and safe contraceptives (attached)
Managed herds of introduced wild horses are incompatible with protection of Australian nature conservation areas (p. 3)
It is advisable not to put too narrow approach to this issue. Don’t shut off the option of the establishment of off-park management of feral horses at some time in the future.
Horses left in Guy Fawkes NP have now bred back to the excessive numbers prior to the 600+ cull despite continued managed removals by yarding and trucking.
Wilderness areas should be priority areas to be feral horse free (p. 31)
Leaving feral horses in The Pilot/Byabo Wilderness, the source of the Murray, for riders to relive the pursuits of the Man from Snowy River, will only exacerbate and further entrench the problem.