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Mountain Journal

Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps

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Invasive species

Please provide feedback on the Feral Horse Action Plan

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..

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Feral deer moving into World Heritage Parks in Tasmania

Australia has enormous problems with large invasive species like feral pigs, horses and deer. These species have negatively impacted huge sections of the continent. Yet self interest sometimes over rides the need to remove these populations. For instance, hunters sometimes argue that animals like deer should be left in wild places like national parks to allow continued hunting. And there is a huge campaign to see feral horse populations retained in the Australian Alps on spurious ‘cultural’ grounds.

Public debate has focused strongly on wild horse populations over the past few years. The threat poised by deer in lutruwita/ Tasmania is set to become a major public issue as the size of the feral deer population becomes clear. It is obvious that deer are moving into new habitats, and will bring enormous ecological impacts as they do so.

Continue reading “Feral deer moving into World Heritage Parks in Tasmania”

Parliamentary Inquiry into tackling the extinction crisis in Victoria

We rely on healthy ecosystems for our survival. Victoria is the most cleared state in the country and natural ecosystems have faced centuries of land clearing, logging, invasion of invasive species and other threatening processes. The mountains that we love are already under threat from climate change: as fire seasons become longer and more intense, and as winter snowpack declines.

Now the Victorian parliament has announced an Inquiry into Ecosystem Decline. This is an important opportunity to show that the community wants to see ecosystems restored and species protected from extinction.

Please read on for ideas on how to write a submission to the Inquiry.

Continue reading “Parliamentary Inquiry into tackling the extinction crisis in Victoria”

Court clears way for Kosciuszko post-bushfire horse removal

A hearing is taking place this morning, Thursday 9 July, in the NSW Land and Environment Court regarding the management of feral horses in Kosciuszko National Park.

Continue reading “Court clears way for Kosciuszko post-bushfire horse removal”

‘FOI reveals feral horse numbers exploding faster than ever in Kosciuszko’

Wild horses, along with other feral species, have inflicted enormous damage on the alpine and sub alpine environments of the Australian Alps for decades.

There has been a long campaign to have numbers of horses reduced, which has been resisted by people who claim the horses have a ‘cultural’ claim to be in the mountains.

However, the current NSW government has continually failed to act to protect the NSW High Country, by refusing to support horse removal programs. (In a surprise move, the NSW environment minister, Matt Kean, recently announced that ‘about’ 4,000 feral horses will be removed from Kosciuszko national park as ‘part of an emergency response to protect the alpine ecosystem after large areas were devastated by bushfires’).

One of the key points used by opponents of horse removal is the claim that numbers of horses are inflated by proponents of removal. This has been a dominant argument used by pro brumby groups in both NSW and Victoria. Conservation group Reclaim Kosci has just released information received through a Freedom of Information request, which shows the size – and growth – of the horse population in the Northern Snowies.

The following information is taken from the Reclaim Kosci media release on the issue.

Continue reading “‘FOI reveals feral horse numbers exploding faster than ever in Kosciuszko’”

Call out for volunteers – Hawkweed eradication program

This summer, Parks Victoria (PV) will continue its volunteer program which is working on eradicating the invasive Hawkweed from the Bogong High Plains.

Hawkweeds are a highly invasive pest plant species which could cause major environmental damage in alpine and sub-alpine areas of Australia if not eradicated early.

The volunteer courses run out of Falls Creek over the summer in week long blocks. Details are below.

Continue reading “Call out for volunteers – Hawkweed eradication program”

‘Kosciuszko National Park is lurching towards a crisis’

Wild horse populations pose a significant threat to alpine and sub alpine areas across the Alps. However in NSW, a campaign to have the horses protected because of their ‘cultural’ status means that impacts are growing significantly within Kosciuszko National Park. Now horse removal from the park has stopped for a second year in a row because of an intervention by NSW Deputy Premier, John Barilaro.

Andrew Cox, the Invasive Species Council CEO, has called this a “shameful back-down for a government claiming to prioritise protection of the environment.”

Continue reading “‘Kosciuszko National Park is lurching towards a crisis’”

Volunteer Hawkweed eradication programs in the Snowy Mountains

Mouse-ear hawkweed (Hieracium pilosella) is an invasive perennial herb in the daisy (Asteraceae) family. It is native to Europe and Asia but now occurs as a serious weed in New Zealand, Canada and USA.

A small infestation of mouse-ear hawkweed was discovered in December 2014, near Charlottes Pass in the Main Range of Kosciuszko National Park. The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) has an active control-and-detection program under way to eradicate this threat.

The National Parks and Wildlife Service in NSW is organising a volunteer program in the Snowy Mountains from January until March 2019. Volunteers help with identifying the location of hawkweed infestations.

Continue reading “Volunteer Hawkweed eradication programs in the Snowy Mountains”

Registrations for this summer’s Hawkweed survey program in VIC Alps are now open

Hawkweed is a highly invasive pest plant species which could cause major environmental damage in alpine and sub-alpine areas of Australia if not eradicated early. For several years there has been an annual volunteer program held on the Bogong High Plains. Volunteer recruitment for the 2018/2019 season of the Falls Creek Hawkweed Eradication Program Volunteer Surveys is now open.

Continue reading “Registrations for this summer’s Hawkweed survey program in VIC Alps are now open”

‘Hooves off our Alps.’ Public forum in Melbourne

NSW wants to protect its feral horses. Why Victorians should be worried?

You’re invited to this free forum hosted by the Invasive Species Council in Melbourne, on Wednesday, 28 November 2018 from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm

Continue reading “‘Hooves off our Alps.’ Public forum in Melbourne”

Victorian Government moves on invasive animals

Wild deer cause massive damage across the Alps and many other forested parts of south eastern Australia. The Victorian Government has accepted most of the recommendations of a parliamentary inquiry into the Control of Invasive Animals on Crown Land. Significantly, the government has acknowledged that recreational hunting is generally an ineffective means of invasive animal control and announced that feral cats will be declared pest animals on public land, allowing more effective control programs.

Continue reading “Victorian Government moves on invasive animals”

Falls Creek Hawkweed Eradication Program Volunteer Surveys.

As you may know, Hawkweeds are a highly invasive pest plant species which could cause major environmental damage in alpine and sub-alpine areas of Australia if not eradicated early.

For several years there have been summer field trips where volunteers join with Parks Victoria to identify and remove Hawkweed from the Bogong High Plains. They will be on again this summer and you can register now.

Continue reading “Falls Creek Hawkweed Eradication Program Volunteer Surveys.”

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