The New South Wales environment minister, Penny Sharpe, has declared that the culling of the wild horses in Kosciuszko National Park is important for the preservation of the park’s ecosystems and the threatened species that live inside them. This culling will take place once a public consultation process has taken place.
According to Sharpe, the decision to enable aerial culling of feral horse populations occurred after 82% of 11,002 responses from stakeholders supported the measure in addition to other control strategies that were already in place. This led to the decision to change the park’s management plan to allow aerial culling of feral horse populations.
The number of free-roaming horses in Kosciuszko National Park is simply unsustainable. Both native species that are already under threat of extinction and the ecosystem as a whole are currently in jeopardy. She emphasized the need for us to take action.
“I want to make sure that the staff working in our national parks have all of the options they need to reach the population target and protect this precious alpine environment.”
Sharpe stated that she was sympathetic “with those who feel distressed that we must undertake control programs” and that she knew that the choice would make some people unhappy.
She stated, however, that efficient management of horse populations had been put on hold for an excessive amount of years, which had a negative impact on the park.
Sharpe stated that as the Minister for the Environment, which gave her authority for national parks, she could not sit idly by as horses harmed ecosystems and Indigenous people’s cultural heritage.
She said, “I can’t stand by and say the status quo is adequate because the harm and damage that’s happening to that park is too great.” “I can’t stand by and say the status quo is adequate because of the status quo,” she said.
It comes after the conclusion of a Senate investigation into the damage that thousands of feral horses were making in the Australian Alps. The inquiry determined that horses constituted an extinction risk to native species, including the stocky galaxias fish and the southern corroboree frog, both of which are considered to be in a critically endangered status.
In May, the federal threatened species scientific committee issued a warning to the investigation that feral horses “may be important factor that causes final extinction” of as many as 6 critically rare creatures and at least two critically endangered plants. This warning came after the inquiry found that feral horses were a part in the extinction of at least two critically endangered plants.
The Senate report, which was released the week before last, stated that laws in New South Wales protecting feral horses from culling had led to an exponential increase in the population of feral horses. The report recommended that the state government address this issue in part by updating the Kosciuszko national park wild horse heritage management plan to allow aerial shooting to help control numbers.
After routine assessments discovered that other management measures were not sufficient to achieve the legislated obligation to limit the number of horses in the park to 3,000 by 2027, the government of New South Wales (NSW) had already declared in August that it wanted to revise the plan to allow for aerial shooting. This came after the announcement.
The surveys, which were carried out in November of the previous year, provided an estimate that the number of wild horses had climbed to 18,814 – this is an increase from the previous estimate of 14,380 in 2020.
The decision of the government comes after years of contentious discussion, particularly over how to control the invasive species.
An inquiry into an alleged threat made against a national parks office in the Snowy Mountains as a result of ground shooting of wild horses within the park was requested by the previous Coalition government in the month of September of the preceding year.
This year, aerial filming will pick back up with a preliminary program that will be used to hone existing methods and make certain that the right steps are being followed throughout the production.
Although I adore horses, I don’t think they should be allowed in national parks. She stated that feral horses were responsible for a significant amount of damage being caused to our native vegetation and animals, including a large number of endangered species in the Australian Alps.
“This will be an enormous help in reducing the number of feral horses and protecting the more than 30 native species that are on the verge of extinction and call the Alps home.”
The decision was hailed as a victory for indigenous species and mountain streams by environmental organizations, which have for a long time advocated for the implementation of all feasible safeguards to ensure the park’s preservation.
Park rangers will be able to “finally get on with the difficult task of removing thousands of feral horses before our mountains and rivers are trampled beyond repair,” according to Jack Gough, the campaign manager for the Invasive Species Council.
When it comes to taming the wild horse population, which is currently out of control, we need every tool in the toolbox that we have available. This includes shooting from the air by specialists with extensive training who follow procedures that have been vetted by independent animal welfare experts, he explained.
“The scientific evidence is unequivocal, and the public and political climate has shifted as a result of increased awareness among Australians regarding the devastation caused by feral horses in the country’s mountainous regions,”
The Nature Conservation Council of New South Wales noted that the damage done to alpine habitats by feral horses could not be emphasized. The organization also stated that it had received a “overwhelming level of engagement from our members on this issue.”
“We believe this is representative of a broader shift in public sentiment as awareness of the impact of feral horses has grown,” Jacqui Mumford, the chief executive, said in response to the survey results.