Scientists condemn new law protecting brumbies

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Kosciuszko National Park brumbies
Debate rages over the future of wild brumbies in Kosciuszko National Park

A controversial bill to protect wild horses in the largest national park in New South Wales has been passed into law despite widespread protests.

Critics say the Kosciuszko Wild Horse Heritage Bill 2018 will prioritise an invasive animal over native species.

Leading scientific bodies including the Australian Academy of Science have condemned the decision. In a letter to the government, the Academy said that extending protection to so-called heritage horses was incompatible with the principles that underpin Australia’s world-leading protected area system.

“Reports from bog, stream, and dry habitats in Kosciuszko and Victoria indicate a wide range of ecosystems are degraded by feral horses,” the letter said. “This research leads the academy to expect substantial negative impacts on species and ecosystems within the park arising from the provisions of the Heritage Bill.”

However, Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton strongly supported the bill, telling the Sydney Morning Herald that it struck “the right balance between protecting the environment and the heritage value of the brumbies that have been in the area for nearly 200 years”.

However, Ms Upton conceded that “the introduction of the species has affected the park over time”, and said “there will need to be a reduction in the overall size of the brumby population to achieve that balance with the fragile alpine environment”.

The Sydney Morning Herald spoke to Joe Hughes, who runs 4BP Horses, a company that finds new homes for brumbies around the country. He said the brumbies bill had ‘come out of the blue’.

“It’s just insane – there’s no science, no community input” on the new plan, Mr Hughes said. “I love horses but I certainly don’t want them to be in a national park.”

He said many of the horses were starving and were eating out many of the edible grasses before straying into bogs and other wetlands desperate to find fodder.

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5 Responses to Scientists condemn new law protecting brumbies

  1. So there reasoning was that the brumbies had been in the area for nearly 200 years ignoring the other flora and fauna that had been in area for over 200,000 years. Amazing insight by the minister. They are a pest and should be removed if possible but shot if not. They are not native to Australia let alone the Australian high country.

  2. Personally I’m pleased to see at least a little sanity has entered the issue. Like any animal, including humans, numbers need to be controlled to minimise their impact on the National Park. I’d like to see them doing more to reduce the number of deer in the NP I live next door to and I believe they are in big numbers in the high country in question also.

  3. If all these scientist are so worried about the environment why are they not screaming about the damage to our water systems caused by the growing of cotton.

  4. The brumbies are an integral part of our history and heritage and as such should therefore be protected. In saying that the numbers need to be controlled not by random shooting from helicopters and left to die a slow and agonising death but by gelding, catching & rehoming. Many of them make great mounts for many equine pursuits.

    • right on! gelding is the answer

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