Friends of Grasslands
supporting native grassy ecosystems
PO Box 440
Macquarie ACT 2614
The Project Team,
Kosciuszko National Park Wild Horse Heritage Management Plan
Re. Amending the Kosciuszko National Park Wild Horse Heritage Management Plan
Friends of Grasslands (FOG) is a community group dedicated to the conservation of natural temperate grassy ecosystems in south-eastern Australia. FOG advocates, educates and advises on matters to do with the conservation of native grassy ecosystems, and carries out surveys and other on-ground work. FOG is based in Canberra and its members include professional scientists, landowners, land managers and interested members of the public.
FOG has made a number of submissions on wild horses in Kosciuszko National Park (27 Oct 2021, 2 Aug 2018 and 27 Jul 2016). Consistent with these submissions we fully support the proposed changes. Our newsletter News of Friends of Grasslands has often published items on the biodiversity values of the park and the threats to those values.
We have watched with great concern as horse numbers have grown in KNP. Many of our members are frequent visitors to Kosciuszko and are well aware of its ecological values and its flora and fauna. We have seen at first hand the destruction of sensitive vegetation and habitat, including waterways, caused by horses. Additionally, random damage to the park in sensitive areas caused by horses also impacts on areas of importance to Aboriginal heritage. Both these issues suggest that however many horses remain, they should be restricted to areas where they will do the least damage to natural and heritage values.
Public safety and tourism are other considerations. Our members have camped in the park which may be visited in the very early morning by horses - a somewhat intimidating experience. Also, horses on roads present hazards to road safety and cause pollution to water sources.
Regarding the method of disposal, we are well aware that aerial shooting is the most effective and best animal welfare approach, as advised by many animal protection organisations. We understand that this is the method used in the adjoining park areas in the Australian Capital Territory. While leaving carcasses to rot is likely both the best ecological and least costly solution, we are concerned that the carcasses will attract pigs, cats, wild dogs and foxes and pollute waterways. FOG urges this is carefully managed, with removal or carcasses out of sensitive areas.
We nevertheless are concerned that populations of wild horses will always require culling. A long term strategy to maintain low or no populations would be the most optimal solution. We would like to hear of plans to change legislative and undertake public education that aims to lead to the removal of feral animals including horses in the park and in other sensitive areas of NSW.
Professor Jamie Pittock
President, Friends of Grasslands
10 September 2023