Are there parts of the National Park that should be kept completely free of wild horses?

by Catherine Russell, about 3 years ago
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This inforgraphic outlines how the wild horse population has grown and spread throughout Kosciusko National Park in the past ten years, seeing wild horses entering areas of the park where previously they had never inhabited.  

Are there locations that should be kept free of wild horses, where are these places and why should we keep them free of wild horses? 

THIS TOPIC WILL REMAIN OPEN TILL 12 DECEMBER


Mountain Man about 3 years ago
Chris Hayward says its hard to base an opinion unless you have seen it first hand, at least that is something..unlike the greenies in Sydney who have never even been here spruking their garbage...how about you come back Chris when you have grown a little older and wiser and had a few more years in the mountains to see a little more of the cycle of the bush. You are still wet behind the ears mate to see the whole picture. When you have seen first hand as you say, maybe at least 50 or 60 years worth, then I will take your comments seriously. Give me a break.Sitting in front of a cattlemens hut (Cascades?) where our families lived for several decades and with hundreds of horses and cattle for over 120 years...look around you...where is the damage from that? Dont you think after 170 years of brumbies that there should be some more impacts right where you sit? Maybe you should have had a look at the damage after the 2003 fires to see how its changed since and how it changes all the time.. probably still in primary school then dont remember? A generation of Gullible and brainwashed kids. God help this country and the bush in another 50 years!
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Catherine Russell about 3 years ago
Thank you Mountain Man. Seeing the Mountains over time would give you a rare insight into the resilience and history. We happened upon Chris as he was trekking through the Snowy Mountains. He had been on a six month trip from the source to the summit. He paddled upstream with just his backpack, left his kayak at the mouth of the river and then was trekking on foot, alone through to the summit. We had gone to film the trapping and rehoming approach when we came to Cascade Hut where Chris had stayed overnight and where he was just 24 hours shy of completing his journey. He was very keen to put his perspective forward. If you would like to learn more about Chris, you can visit his site where he is planning his next expedition http://www.chrishayward.com.au/
coastwatcher about 3 years ago
Nothwithstanding these views, this is very much a local issue. The further you get away from the Snowies area the less interest there is. The serious issue here is does what is primarily a local issue override State and Commonwealth obligations to protect an iconic area of Australia particularly as the Alpine parks area is under consideration as World Heritage Area. The answer should not be no and allow this issue to be hijacked. Yes I have been to Cascades and carters and most of KNP over the last 30 years and have witnessed the degradation especially in the Cowombat Flat area and in the headwaters of the Murray River.
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Donna about 3 years ago
So let me get this straight; KNP is at present listed National Heritage, a declared Wilderness Protected Area AND under consideration for World Heritage Listing DESPITE the brumbies' presence there for over 150 years??? Wow, we'd best hurry up and get the choppers & bullets flying, or soon there'll be nothing left to protect!As for it being a 'local' issue, I beg to differ. I live hours away from the Snowies and care a great deal about the horses future in the park and know of many in my area who feel the same. It's not a case of 'the majority' not being interested, it's more they simply don't know.
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coastwatcher about 3 years ago
My concern is that the World Heritage issue will be a non-event in Victoriaand NSW unless they do something about reducing the number of and seriouslymanaging feral horses in the Alpine and KNP.A look on the World Heritage Site will tell you why.(http://whc.unesco.org/en/criteria/) The inevitable conclusion is that weare much worse off than our predecessors as we have been granted enormousamounts of data, with more knowledge of the workings of the physicaluniverse and nature than any other generation. However, we cannot see the"big picture" substituting our own myths and legends of ourselves and ourmarvellous exceptionalism while ignoring the creates forces of nature. Sadly this is a case where self interest, based on non-Aboriginal heritage,tends to dominate. The issue is clouded by claims that the humane treatmentof feral horses must meet higher standards than the slow and protracteddeaths of native species that should as a matter of course be protectedunder the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/nsw/consol_act/npawa1974247/ ..
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Donna about 3 years ago
I wonder at your concern to be honest Coastwatcher. Particularly when there are several criteria for World Heritage listing that KNP would qualify for based on cultural values alone, let alone natural values. You'll get no argument from me on the mess we've made with the knowledge we now have, the selective ignorance displayed by many with regard to our universe and nature almost brings me to tears at times. But that anguish is felt just as equally with regard to our cultural heritage being dismissed. You may say we cannot see the big picture, that we're more or less deluding ourselves with our pretence of "exceptionalism", that our myths and legends mean little in 'the grand scheme' of things; but what of our existence and history? If not for these what tangible traces do we have of who we are as a nation? As for non-Aboriginal heritage, again I beg to differ. In my research I've found that Indigenous Australians were highly respected for their abilities as stockmen and horse handlers or breakers. Any Indigenous person has just as much reason to be as appalled at the treatment and mismanagement of these horses as white Australians do; it's their heritage too.Please see my comment in the forum "What is the one thing you want people to understand about wild horse management" for my response to claims we are asking for higher standards of humaneness for these horses.
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coastwatcher about 3 years ago
DonnaThe reason why the bid is not serious is because of such things as Extension to Perisher area - Victorian introduction of cattle also the reason why the Barrier Reef is under scrutiny is because of all the man made dredging and dumping.
Khankhan about 3 years ago
Mountain Man I found your response and attitude to Chris Hayward pretty condescending. He has already tested his mettle and in the process covered a lot of physical ground and water and had time to think, to assess and to make comparisons. So your families used Cascade hut for 'several' decades. I understand that many hard working city people, probably including some from Sydney, have worked to maintain and protect Cascade and other mountain huts for 40 years. Where were you during those years? If the park and its non-Aboriginal history is so important to you, stretch your thinking to understand that it is also important to other people too. The difference is they are doing something to protect it and your precious hut heritage (not horses) for future generations.And yes, in the short term parts of the park should be horse free. Other areas need serious management to get the numbers down, so that in time all or most of the park would be horse free. At this stage the problem and the damage is significant so that priority areas will need to again be set. The current priority areas are already listed in the current Horse Management Plan on this site.
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Mountain Man about 3 years ago
The difference is KhanKhan that we have been shafted from the mountains and pretty much told that ‘our’ care for the mountains was no longer needed. When the local horsemen where abolished from the newly named wilderness areas in the early 80s we asked who will manage the brumbies? NPWS said they did not need management that the brumbies were insignificant. During those years the greenies wanted to also demolish all the huts throughout the park which other than the brumbies were the last legacy of our heritage. That debate raged for several years but finally common sense prevailed for most huts and then ‘they’ moved in to ‘care’ for them and we were not allowed near them because we came by horse. If it weren’t for horses they would never have been built.A relation of mine in his late 80s wanted to visit a hut before he died that he and his relations had built during the depression and where he had spent many seasons with stock. His family wanted to drive him to it for a picnic one day to sit down with his grandkids to hear his stories, just for a few hours. They did the right thing and asked NPWS but were rejected. They told him if he would like to go there that he could go in with NPWS in their vehicle only if he could not walk in, but his family could not. He never saw his hut or beloved high country again and died a year or so later so disgusted and hurt I would imagine.After the National Parks took over for a time things were ok but when the younger generation of rangers straight out of university who knew everything turned up it changed everything. Once upon a time the rangers would sit down for a yarn and a cuppa with us and ask questions and learn from us but not since the green movement started. After being used for years as guides for scientists, then the Snowy Scheme and then the State Park and the Mountain men are still called in for search and rescue today for bushwalkers gone missing and then we were kicked out and treated with such contempt for those past 40 years and you think I’m condescending? Where were the city hut carers’ when the mountains were an inferno for 2 months? Certainly not here volunteering. The NPWS were revelling and bragging about their double or triple paypacks during the fire and the locals took unpaid days off work to fight ‘their’ fire and they couldn’t even get fed! That’s the difference KhanKan.
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Themba about 3 years ago
Mountain Man,I couldn't agree with you more, the old carers of the park have been tossed aside and treated as stupid "country bumpkins" by the new "owners" of the park, in my opinion. It truly amazes me that people who don't live in and around the park, and who have no history there think they know how to manage the park better than the people who have been doing it more than effectively for years before it become a national park.
gerg1400 about 3 years ago
Yes certainly some parts of KNP should be free of brumbies and other feral animals especially pigsThis is already the plan to restrict brumbies to the three define areas. Obviously the high alpine areas cant support brumbies and any sensitive swamps or catachmentsHowever in the lower open fieids below 1600m they are less of an issueThis is where Chris Hayward has it wrong. Yes they do some damage but haven't destroyed rivers. However the numbers do need to be controlledIf he wants to see destroyed come see some pig damage. Thats real destructionAnybody can take a picture of a damaged river or creek bank or footpad created by a brumby however it doesnt mean it everywhere
C K M Jackson about 3 years ago
Humans are by far the greatest threat to our magnificent High / Snowy River Country - no one wants to shoot, eradicate poison etc. them. Anything that is not a Flora leave a footprint - have a think about it
Perplexed about 3 years ago
It seems many participating on these discussions pyne for the days before the national park was created as being the point at when things started to go bad. I ask the question how many horses were allowed to be running rampant and free across the landscape prior to the parks declaration???Would people be happy if the next plan aimed to return to that population level rather than the 6000 that are there today??? Then possibly a return to traditional management methods, roping and ground shooting may be effective to keep things in check???
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Themba about 3 years ago
Perplexed. No actually, they are simply pointing out that the horses were never seen as a problem until the park was declared a national park. The population of the horses has gone up and down over the years just as it does for any species in the wild, native or non native. What you appear to have missed is the call for HUMANE management of the horses and the call for a stop to blaming them for the decline of native plants and animals in the park for which there is no factual proof. There is also a call for more management of the human population visiting the park and impacting on the park environment. We can't go back in time but we can insure that HUMANE treatment (not just relatively humane treatment) of ALL animals in the park is conducted and adhered to.
Stephen about 3 years ago
Yes, all of it.But, de facto, the decision has already been made in favour of the brumby lobby.By your own admission, no serious effort is being made to control these invasive and destructive animals, and they are multiplying and going in to areas where they have never been before.Meanwhile, you are agonising over which of seven control methods is the most 'humane'. Just use the method which eliminates the most horses at the least cost, how hard is that.What I particularly object to is the dishonesty, where Parks pretends to be all things to all people, when their weak actual policies on the ground can only lead to one pro-ferals outcome - a large and destructive horse population stuck in KNP indefinitely.
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Catherine Russell about 3 years ago
Thank you Stephan. We appreciate the feedback.
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Bio-Brumby about 3 years ago
Hi Admin, I am disappointed that you choose to thank Stephen for his feedback. Does this mean you approve of his feedback?If so I have to wonder whether Admin therefore is not interested in humane management considerations. Even Dave RSPCA talks of relative humaneness. Are you really OK to support Stephen's position to use which ever method 'eliminates the most horses at the least cost', above all other considerations? Regards, Bio-Brumby
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Catherine Russell about 3 years ago
Hi Bio-Brumby, Moderators have made several acknowledgements throughout this site to the full range of perspectives - this is an important thing to do when having a conversation where points of view can be very different at times. In managing the online consultation we are supportive of ALL feedback, comments and referrals; as this collective input will help the redrafting of the plan. Thank you
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Themba about 3 years ago
Sorry Admin but, the feedback appears to be very selective at times. I think that Bio-Brumby was quite correct in their comments in this case.
HVBA Vice President about 3 years ago
Stephen, and yet we often say, "what is the point, the "anti-horse" (I won't call them green, for I am green) movement has already won". We cry at night at the thought of the tiny, unborn foals that will be born into a world where people will shoot their mothers and leave them to starve because thats the cheap option. However this does not deter us, because while you might think that the humaneness of the methods we choose to use is a trivial side issue, we believe this is what makes us human. I feel revolted that someone with the view that "treating an animal humanely is irrelevant" gets to have any say on what happens to any animal, but that is the process and we must go through it, even though it is agonising.
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Catherine Russell about 3 years ago
Thank you HVBA Vice President.
Mountain Man about 3 years ago
I think it has already been agreed by all concerned (pro horse people included) that the Alpine areas should be kept horse free as well as any other areas that the brumbies have historically not lived and any areas that are direct feeder areas to the horse free areas. There has never been any argument about those places. Now that the horse haters have that in stone now of course they are going for total eradication. That will never happen.
HVBA Vice President about 3 years ago
I think I am about to surprise a lot of people here, but my answer is, if there is evidence for it, then YES, ABSOLUTELY! If an area is particularly sensitive to horse impacts, then it should be fenced off so that the horses cannot get to. This applies not only to the impact of horses though, this applies to anything that is causing a disturbance. In at least one of the clips of the so called horse damage, I saw about four "single toe/uncloven" hoof prints, and more "cloven hoof/trotter" prints than I could count (as people have claimed before, it is easy to tell the difference, horses do not have split hoofs, pigs, deer and goats, etc. do!) it is also worth noting that while the stream bank is quite impacted, the water itself is still very clear, as we have seen on our visits too, not the murkey soup some people would have you believe. The thing is, this goes back to the same old story of gathering enough evidence to suggest that an area requires the impacts from the horses to be removed completely. Of course the other side of this is that we know there are some areas that do not require that sort of drastic exclusion, and in these cases it is just a case of knowing how to keep the impacts at a sustainable level, and this comes back to gathering data, SETTING TARGETS and implementing a humane and effective management plan.
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skifree about 3 years ago
I absolutely agree there parts of the National Park that should be kept completely free of wild horses, and would go further that all of the National Park should be free of horses. They are after all should be treated the same as foxes, rabbits, dogs, deer, pigs, goats, cats and I am sure there are feral animals I do not know about that should be added to the listThat said, it maybe a sad fact that it maybe easier and more cost effective in the short term to exclude horses from some areas of the Park than to try and excise them from the Park as a whole. But certainly being a larger and easier to find animal than cats, dogs, foxes and rabbits it should be easier to effect a complete removal of horses from the Park.
Themba about 3 years ago
I don't actually find your answer surprising, it simply displays what you have been saying all along that you care equally for the environment and the horses. I think there are areas in the park that should be kept completely free of horse, sheep, cattle, pigs, deer, goats and yes even some native animals. I also believe these areas should exclude humans as well. I agree with you regarding the water purity. I have seen on these forums people complaining of becoming sick after drinking the water from streams in the park and blaming it on the horses. The fact is that the bacteria in the water comes from native and non-native animals including humans. A rule of thumb is, don't drink from a stream unless the water is fast running and clear.