We know that wild horses pose a major threat to mountain environments in Australia. In the ACT there is a plan to limit horse numbers. NSW continues to be stuck in a ‘culture war’ block that has stopped meaningful action to reduce numbers. Now Parks Victoria has updated their ‘action plan’ for feral horse management in the Alpine National Park.
You can review the draft action plan and provide feedback up until April 23. Once feedback has been compiled, the final action plan will be published ‘mid year’ in 2021 and then Parks Victoria can get on with horse removal..
Check here for reactions from groups like the Invasive Species Council and Victorian National Parks Association.
Check here for information about why feral horses are damaging alpine environments.
Parks Victoria’s draft “Protection of the Alpine National Park, Feral Horse Action Plan” should be supported because horses, like other large introduced animals such as deer, do a lot of damage.
Parks Victoria is legally obliged to manage problem feral animals in the Alpine National Park, according to:
- Victorian laws: the National Parks Act and Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act
- Federal law: the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act
- International treaty: the Convention on Biological Diversity
The plan is focussed on the much-needed recovery of a range of threatened species and ecosystems in Victoria’s National Heritage listed Alpine National Park. These include:
- Alpine peat beds and wetlands are heavily impacted by hard hooved animals
- The grassland habitat of a rare, cold weather native mammal, the Tooarana, is damaged by horse grazing.
- A number of other threatened animals, such as the Guthega Skink, Alpine Tree Frog, and Alpine Spiny Crayfish are among many rare alpine plants and animals also impacted by horses.
How to control horses?
Without effective control, horse numbers will continue to increase and bring more damage to the park. A key question to consider is how to control them. Both Brumby running (or roping) and trapping in yards have proved to be ineffective in reducing horse numbers in the past.
While rehoming is Parks Victoria’s first option for the horses, good homes for feral horses are limited.
Previously, captured horses that weren’t able to be rehomed were sent to a knackery. Animal welfare authorities, including the RSPCA, say shooting on-site by professional pest controllers is a far more humane control method.
If lethal methods are to be used, ground shooting will be a preferred option.
According to the plan, aerial sooting will be allowed in more remote areas, where ground shooting has failed, or where large numbers of horses might be found suffering in poor condition due to drought etc.
Parks Victoria already controls feral pigs, goats and deer through both ground shooting and aerial shooting.
How to provide feedback
Check the Engage Victoria page.
Here you can:
- Read the plan
- Then make a submission.
There are a series of fields where you provide feedback on
- the approaches outlined above to manage feral horse in the Alpine National Park, including rehoming
- any other strategies to restore the alpine environment
The key thing is to say that you support the plan and want to see Parks Victoria get on with removing feral horse populations from the Alpine national park.