Feral horse numbers rise dramatically in NSW as ACT updates management plan

Released 16/12/2019

Feral horse populations have significantly increased in the Australian high country and are threatening our pristine water catchments and the ecology of Namadgi National Park.

Aerial surveying numbers released by The Australian Alps Liaison Committee show close to 25,000 feral horses are roaming freely across three large areas of the Australian Alps national parks.

Alarmingly, this is more than double the number found in the same areas five years ago.

Estimated populations of the areas surveyed have increased from 9,180 in 2014 to 25,318 in 2019, a population increase of 23% per year.

I recently toured impacted areas to survey the damage and eroded waterways these heavy hoofed feral animals cause.

I have raised and will continue to press this issue with my State and Federal Government colleagues. We need to conserve our water quality and protect critically endangered animals like the northern corroboree frog, which lives in the moist alpine bogs of the ACT high country.

Feral horses do not recognise state boundaries and the scientific evidence is clear – heavy hoofed pests such as feral horses are damaging the landscape.

The integrity of our high-country areas is vital to preserve the quality of Canberra’s drinking water, and the water that flows from the Australian Alps, which contributes more than 30% of inflows into the Murray-Darling system.

We have recently finalised a review of our current feral horse management plan. The review found our plan has effectively prevented the re-establishment of feral horse populations in Namadgi National Park.

The review also acknowledged the sustained and increased threat from significant feral horse populations in the northern end of Kosciuszko National Park bordering the ACT.

Findings of the review will inform a new ACT feral horse management plan in 2020 that will incorporate the latest science and population numbers.

A Dropbox with images and videos of feral horse impact areas on the ACT border is available HERE.

The current ACT plan is available here: www.environment.act.gov.au/parks-conservation/plants-and-animals/Biosecurity/pest-animals/feral_horse_management

Details of the feral horse aerial survey can be found at: www.theaustralianalps.wordpress.com.

- Statement ends -

Section: Mick Gentleman, MLA | Media Releases

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