Wild horse populations are a problem right across the Alps. While there are plans to reduce numbers in Victoria, the NSW government has opted for a bizarre position that believes that ‘the cultural significance of brumbies needed to be recognised’, and hence culling in alpine national parks has been reduced. As a result, the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service has not undertaken any feral horse control in alpine areas for more than 18 months. This has meant that the large existing wild horse population continues to grow, and continues to adversely impact on alpine ecosystems.
One impact of this decision by the NSW government has been greater numbers of horses moving into protected areas in the ACT, and more being involved in accidents with road traffic.
As a result, the ACT government has said it will look to ‘officially declare feral horses a pest and update its management plan’.
The Canberra Times reports that:
‘The ACT government fears an established population inside the ACT would destroy delicate wetlands which provide the capital with 80 per cent of its drinking water, and the habitats of native species like the critically endangered northern corroboree frog’.
In terms of road safety, “The Invasive Species Council has warned the lack of feral horse control is leading to more collisions in the Snowy Mountains and Kosciuszko park between horses and motorists.
The areas where most collisions have happened “tended to be on the Snowy Mountains Highway between the Yarrangobilly Village and the Kiandra and Eucumbene River crossing area”.
For background on the issue of wild horses, see this link to previous Mountain Journal articles.