Update on feral horses in national parks

Feral horses in national parks have been in the news lately. Two court applications by the Australian Brumby Alliance, and cattleman Phil Maguire, were dismissed, clearing the way for Parks Victoria to begin culling horses to prevent further environmental damage to the Bogong High Plains.

The enthusiasm for court applications then crossed the border into New South Wales – presumably in a Covid19-safe manner – where an application by the Snowy Mountains Brumby Sustainability and Management Group was similarly dismissed, on 17 July.

The SMBSMG, though it has made some questionable decisions in the past, such as choosing a name that defies pronunciation even without a mouthful of grass, wisely decided not to appeal. As did the Australian Brumby Alliance.

By late July, however, Phil Maguire had raised $50,000 to seek leave to appeal to the High Court. A risky investment – only about 25% of High Court applicants are granted leave to appeal.

Meanwhile, on 22 July, the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service started removing approximately 4000 feral horses from some higher conservation-value parts of northern Kosciuszko NP. The horses will be re-homed where possible, and the remainder trucked to an abbatoir.

The NSW government is preparing to issue the long-awaited call for comments on its draft wild horse management plan, probably in September. The Reclaim Kosci campaign, a coalition of environmental groups, NPAs and many bushwalking clubs, will be preparing a submission guide. The guide will be available through the Warby Bushwalkers website.

Linda Groom, Volunteer, Reclaim Kosci


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