Nature & Wildlife

Feral horse numbers in Kosciuszko could fall 95% under new proposal

The infestation of feral horses destroying rare ecosystems and killing threatened species in Kosciuszko National Park could be reduced by 95% if targets agreed by Nationals Leader John Barilaro are met. Mr Barilaro reportedly now supports reducing the feral horse population in the park from an estimated 14,000 to between 3,000 and 600, a reduction of between 78% and 95%. “We stand ready to work with Mr Barilaro and Environment Minister Matt Kean to tackle the infestation of feral horses that is destroying fragile alpine ecosystems,” Nature Conservation Council Acting Chief Executive Jacqui Mumford said. “We must always aim for the eradication of destructive feral pests, especially in our national parks, but total removal is possibly unrealistic. “Under the circumstances, a target of between 600 and 3,000 is a good range. “There are many challenges that conservation managers and scientists face in hitting that target, not least of which is the 2018 Kosciuszko Wild Horse Heritage Act that gives wild horses special protected status. “That law is a significant impediment to practical, science-based management of our alpine parks. “We encourage the government to urgently repeal the act so conservation managers can protect threatened species like the corroboree frog and their fragile mountain streams, which are being trashed by thousands of hard horse hooves every day.” REFERENCES [1] ‘Changed tune’: Barilaro says parts of Kosciuszko should be horse-free, SMH, 13-01-2021