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about 3 years ago
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HVBA Vice President about 3 years ago
I was wondering if we could have a topic about "The Pros and Cons of currently available management tools". It would be good to exclude Aerial Culling from this because I think we have covered that topic fairly extensively, but I know that will get some people off side. So in my mind the available tools are: Do Nothing, Fencing, Fertility Control, Passive Trapping, Active Trapping/mustering, Ground Shooting, Roping/Brumby Running, Aerial Culling. Let me know if I've forgotten any.
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InterestedObserver about 3 years ago
If aerial shooting is excluded, then fertility control should be excluded too as that's currently not viable for large, free ranging populations like in Kozzie.Do nothing - won't reduce numbers;Fencing - won't reduce numbers, and apparently exacerbates impacts at the fence;Passive trapping - clearly isn't working;Active trapping/mustering - apparently inhumane;Ground shooting - apparently won't work;Roping/Brumby running - apparently inhumane and won't work.What's left? Baiting is another technique used on other pest species. If nothing can be done to effectively (and cost effectively) manage the numbers than I'd say at some stage (maybe 10, 20, 50 years?), if the current trend continues, then techniques like poison baiting and/or aerial shooting will be used. Effective fertility controls hopefully will be available by then, but if you've got a population of 20000 or even 50000 horses (my rudimanetary maths: 6000 horses now. 9% growth rate, minus 500 horses a year = 72000 horses in 50 years) impacting the environment there will need to be a massive reduction in the population. There won't be any debate over impacts then, and any and all methods will be used to reduce the population - probably with no thought of conserving a sustainable number of horses. Unless the park has been developed as part of Canberra's urban sprawl. And then there won't be any horses at all. Or native species.Common sense needs to play a part in discussion of management tools before: 1. more native species are lost; and 2. horses are annihilated in a future response to lack of effective control now.
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Donna about 3 years ago
So instead we're to annihilate horses in the present as a response to lack of effective control in the past? Because that's what it comes down to - there have been no effective management responses apart from passive trapping, which is why I wonder at your remark that it's clearly not working. It has been effective in managing the population, which until such time as any impact is inconclusively attributed to the horses and correctly measured and a number for removal is determined, is all that is needed. I'm confused as to why aerial culling didn't make your list with an accompanying conclusion of "can't be used in KNP" or even "apparently inhumane"? It's painfully obvious to those of us supporting the brumbies that in every single instance of this 'conversation' and its individual discussion points, there has been without fail at least one ever present voice such as yourself espousing the 'benefits' of aerial culling and clearly focusing on it regardless of what the question or topic may be. This of course does nothing more than reaffirm the solid belief of many that this entire process is merely a 'Trojan Horse' designed to give the impression of 'fair' consultation whilst clearly pushing one favoured outcome. But hey, tell us again how humane, cost effective and oh so perfect aerial culling is again, please.If we're using actual common sense, it dictates that the first of your scenarios should not even be listed - once again, there have been NO NATIVE SPECIES LOST as a direct result of the horses presence - one man's anecdotal 'evidence' of a species becoming "locally extinct" does not make a species lost. "Locally extinct" to me seems like an oxymoron, extinct is extinct, locally or otherwise. If a species is no longer found in one area but exists in others, it does not qualify as extinct.
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InterestedObserver about 3 years ago
I'm suggesting that unless effective mangement is implemented, the horse population will keep growing. Now there's talk of sanctuaries and horse 'conservation', but when the horse population is decimating all else, I don't think those options will still be available. A well managed population now, or at least soon (ie maybe 10 years?) might (can't guarantee that) prevent the pendulum swinging to horse eradication (even though I think that's impossible, governments mght see votes in it).How is passive trapping managing the population? Maybe it's limited the increase, but it's not preventing any increase. And clearly parks need to take a lot more horses out to reach that point. So clearly it's not working. Should the impact of deer and pigs and foxes be correctly measured and a number determined for their removal. The plain fact is, horse impacts are clear to see for those that have an open mind. Control is required, but current controls are not working.Aerial culling didn't make the list as HVBA VP wanted it left out as it "had been covered fairly extensively". They asked what they might have left out. I was suggesting that everything they listed either hasn't worked, won't work, or isn't allowed to be used. OK, I should have just said, "don't forget baiting". Is it difficult to believe that there are people who accept that aerial culling is humane and effective? I'd suggest that there's more than just one. If one horse via trapping = $1000 = one hour of helicopter time (both figures acquired through this website) I fail to see how aerial shooting wouldn't be more cost effective for a start. I'd suggest you'd could shoot a lot more than one horse an hour from a helicopter. And kill them quickly and humanely, even if it took 15 bullets in a matter of seconds (modern firearms are wonderfully efficient). Maybe if 'your side' (sorry, not meaning to use broad brush strokes - I was trying to be impartial while watching this debate, but got frustrated by some of the ludicrous claims being repeated and now seem to have been lumped in with the Greeks) didn't keep throwing up that aerial shooting is inhumane, people like me wouldn't need to refute it.Again, sorry HVBA VP & Admin - if it isn't too much trouble would you please add baiting to HVBA VP's list if that topic becomes one for further discussion. And please include aerial shooting and fertility control despite my suggestion, as per Donna's request. Perhaps biological control should be included too, if we're going to cast a wide net, though that may impact horses outside of kozzie.
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Donna about 3 years ago
Again, we're back to exaggerated cries of 'decimation'. It's lovely the way that double standard works so well for you - pro brumby contributors are labelled as "ludicrous", while you're assertion that the horses are "decimating all else" is perfectly reasonable. Nice.I do find it extremely difficult to accept that anyone who is given all the information and evidence on aerial culling, not just the 'text book' version of how it SHOULD go, would agree that it is humane. You're 'guesstimates' on how easily it would be achieved are all fine in theory but in practise much more difficult to achieve, as we've seen from previous attempts. There are far to many unpredictable variables for it to be carried out humanely in almost every circumstance in my opinion, and that is not a "broad brush stroke" either, but a personal opinion based on factual evidence I've seen and collated - despite the "wonderfully efficient" firearms, regardless of the level of expertise or skill, there has not been one cull I have researched that did not result in animals being wounded and left to die a slow death, even when carried out in 'perfect' circumstances as per the SOP. Not a single one went the way it was supposed to. FYI, baiting is as far as I'm aware a serious consideration for future management - I believe mineral blocks laced with Cyanide is the option "on the table". Fertility control should most definitely be included in the discussion; it is being increasingly tested and trialled with success and therefore is a serious option - logistics aside, it must be considered.
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InterestedObserver about 3 years ago
Have a look at the impacts of horses in the park. If you aren't willing to see what the horses are doing, nothing I type will change your mind.At least cyanide would satisfy the humaneness test. Fertility control doesn't sound as though it's feasible on a population of 6000 horses, in rugged and remote country. Aerial shooting however seems ideal for that situation.I'm sure the trapping program isn't 100% safe for the animals in practise either, and in the end most are killed after many hours, maybe even days, of fear and suffering. That's not humane. If the intended result is death, death should be achieved as soon as possible. Aerial shooting is far more capable of achieving that than any other method proposed, other than cyanide baiting. But it might be hard to find a bait that horses eat that native species won't.
HVBA Vice President about 3 years ago
Oh I forgot about baiting, yes that should go on the list too, even though I'm not keen on poisoning anything, its worth having the discussion.
Bio-Brumby about 3 years ago
Hi InterestedObserver, Since you have proposed and answered items above, I’ll add mine;Fertility control - is cheap, viable and available now for smaller numbers and would eliminate the need for additional management.Do nothing – Agree your answerFencing – Will protect highly sensitive areasPassive trap - NPWS trap skills have improved and have removed 670 Brumbies in one year.Active trapping/mustering – Could be trialled to assess humanness when kept to the pace of the slowest Brumby for hard to access areas.Ground shooting – Of trap animals, with screen/yards etc., is quick & accurate.Roping/Brumby running – ruled out in last KNP Mgmt. plan.Baiting for other pest species - Is considered in-humane and should be stopped for ALL animals. Number in 2001 was 5,200 & this year’s count is 6,000 which I calculate to be 1.5% Brumby population increase. Strategy to balance environment species with effective control in my view includes a range of techniques from fertility control, fencing, passive trap and trial slow musters into traps, then Rehome where possible, and euthanize on site any trap Brumbies where rehoming is not available. Regards, Bio-Brumby
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InterestedObserver about 3 years ago
1.5% increase since 2001 is almost acceptable. A decrease would be preferable though.Should we include regular 2003 style wildfires as a control technique then? Someone else (maybe Mounatin man) stated 60% of the horses were killed then. Which of the techniques above (no, further up, past my bit about fires) will achieve that sort of a reduction in the short term? It sounds like that sort of level of control is required just to restrict horses to a 1.5% population increase.
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Bio-Brumby about 3 years ago
Hi InterestedObserver, I take your point on including regular wildfires for control, and understand that populations need to be managed, I was responding to projected numbers to 50,000 and suggesting wildfire 60% population loss should be included. I prefer to have realistic science based numbers on the population level each area can sustain without losing robustness, i.e. seasonal/periodic change, and manage to that level by trailing slow/low stress muster and on site euthanasia. Regards, Bio-Brumby
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InterestedObserver about 3 years ago
I think the problem we have now is lost robustness of the natural environment due to horse impacts. These impacts will continue to occur and cannot be reversed unless the horses are removed (and even then it will take a long time). Seasonality doesn't appear to cause changes in the horse population or distribution - the horses I have seen on the main range are there in winter and summer. They aren't moving of their own accord to permit natural regeneration of the areas they are impacting.I don't think 50000 is unrealistic. Sure, it won't happen quickly, but if no effective controls are applied, it will keep increasing. 9% increase per year adds up very quickly.
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Donna about 3 years ago
Despite the fact we've never seen numbers like that in the history of the time they've been there?? No one could believe that increase is possible, not with natural attrition, fires, trapping, gun happy morons who like to shoot 'vermin' for fun etc, it's just unreasonable.
Bio-Brumby about 3 years ago
Hi InterestedObserver, Over 50% of KNP is free of horses, only a small % of the areas where horses live could be called excessive horse numbers. These specific areas need to be assessed; horse numbers reduced to a viable level, and humanely managed to retain that level. Why waste chat time talking of what might happen IF nothing is done. You and I agree, I think, that something should be done. I support sustainable populations and planned, humane population reduction where any species is overabundant, I am not interested in what may happen IF. Refer to my posting 7-Nov-2014 for my ideas on management. Regards, Bio-Brumby
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InterestedObserver about 3 years ago
What do you consider to be a viable/sustainable level? I think that is the crux of the issue. And how can it be achieved?The level now isn't sustainable, from an ecological, economical or re-homing perspective. And the management in place isn't capable of preventing population increase.100% of KNP used to be free of horses...
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Donna about 3 years ago
WHEN did KNP used to be completely free of horses??? Perhaps within the first 20 years of colonisation, at a stretch.
HVBA Vice President about 3 years ago
I was wondering if it would be possible for all the topics to open again for the last 2 weeks of the consultation so we can have an opportunity to add anything we might have learnt along this process. It would be also good for that to happen after the town hall meeting so just in case someone from that meeting becomes inspired to get on and have a look after learning about the issue all day, they have an opportunity to contribute to those older questions as well. Just an idea anyway.
Perplexed about 3 years ago
I would like to see a topic as to why people in the community value introduced horses more than our native species both plants and animals. They refuse to acknowledge or accept that feral horses in australian ecosystems can and do have a negative impact on those ecosystems, and the native plants and animals that rely on them . Despite both international and local research refer here: http://www.cabi.org/isc/datasheet/119345This is a pretty comprehensive summary of research into feral horse ecology and impacts, both positive and negative by the way, and management at a international level including australian research yet there are still people that are denying that there are negative impacts. Could the government / green conspiracy spread that far? Are there other agendas here?
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Donna about 3 years ago
Perhaps it is not a case of one being valued more than another, but a desire by many including myself to see a balance achieved. Denying the possibility of symbiotic relationships developing between native animals/creatures and the horses over such a long time is doing no one any favours, least of all any natives who may be affected. Deciding to reduce the horse numbers swiftly without forethought is foolishness and should not be encouraged in my opinion; the possibility of negative implications must be fully addressed in order to avoid looking back in years to come and saying "we should have known".
peter_mcc over 3 years ago
I'm not sure it's a topic for discussion but has any research been done on horses and weeds? We noticed lots of weeds in Nichol's Gorge (Blue Waterhole) where the horses were using the walking track but few weeds where they weren't. That makes me think that the horses were responsible rather than walkers or birds/other animals.Were the weeds coming from the horses or was that a coincidence? Do birds drop weed seeds that far from farmland? If it is the horses how do they get the weeds in their system to spread around?Before anyone asks... I'm sure the horses were using the trail a lot. There were large hoof prints in the hardened mud and piles and piles and piles of horse poo that we had to keep stepping over or walking around.
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RKR about 3 years ago
To Peter MccAny weeds you have noticed on the "Walking Track" have been introduced by bushwalkers and the many 4x4's that visit the Blue Waterhole. As the brumby has lived in the area for well over 150 years it is ridiculous notion to suggest that they introduce weeds. I would suggest that more effort needs to be focused on the biodiversity the brumby is aiding by spreading the seeds of many native flora.In regards to having to step over horse poo, I would ask ,were did you dispose of your bodily waste and did you ensure that you did not eat any foods containing seeds that may infest the park? or did you add to the disgusting stench of the so called "eco toilet" provided at Blue Waterholes.I have seen more erosion (hill sides falling away) caused by wombats, with their many holes excavating the sides of mountains away then brumbies have caused in 150 years. Does this mean we should be out there culling and removing wombats?? I suggest not, nature will take care of it self as it has done and will continue to do in the future.
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peter_mcc about 3 years ago
Hmmm, welcome aboard. I'm not sure if you read my comment carefully or just skimmed it.The weeds at Blue Waterhole were ONLY evident in large numbers where the horse tracks were. Further up the valley the horse track went up a hill, a different way to the walking track, and the weeds stopped. Coincidence? I guess that's what you think. I disagree but thought it might be a good idea for a discussion. I'm not sure how the 4wd's (or 2wd's - they were there too) managed to get the weeds several kilometers from carpark down a walking track.Yes, we did use the eco toilet at Blue Waterholes. In any case, I think you'll find that most humans don't leave mounds of poo about 1m in diameter and 30cm high on the walking track. In fact, most humans wouldn't leave any poo on the walking track. Perhaps we need to train the horses better - they clearly have no manners! By the way, once again in case you didn't read my comment clearly, I mentioned the horse poo because it seems some people here have trouble believing that the beloved horses could do any damage at all and so as soon as it is bought up they claim other animals are the culprits.Yes, wombats dig up the hills. Horses aren't native and, while I didn't talk about erosion at all in my comment, since you've bought it up, I believe the horses are responsible for trampled river banks and steep hills in the Blue Waterhole area that far exceeds the damage that any wombat has done.
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RKR about 3 years ago
Unfortunatly people like you self are the culprit in this instannce, you dont need to be an oxford scholar to work out that if there are weeds on a walking track but not anywhere else they must have been brought by walkers themself. It is interesting though that the NPWS have not undertaking a feral human manage plan. it appears you have some issues with poo, its called biodiversity and the ecosystem of the bush would colapse without it. I suggest you venture a little further away from the safety of the eco toilet and discover some of this biodiversity. it is interesting to note however that you ffeel it is ok to drive your 4x4 into the blue waterholes on a bulldozed track but not ok for animal to walk there if its not native. I dont understand why erosion causes by wombats is ok, but when its by horses its not, could you please explain this?
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peter_mcc about 3 years ago
Ummmmmm. Hmmmm. I find your tone quite patronising. You have no idea what I did at Blue Waterholes other than what I've mentioned. I didn't mention if we came in a 4wd, 2wd, car, on foot, on bicycle or on a horse. I didn't mention anything we did other than that we went on a walking track where the weed location closely correlated with evidence of horses. Did we come in for a day trip? Was it at the end of a 10 day walk - you have no idea.Again, not sure if you're reading what I am saying or not. There were large sections of the walking track with no weeds and no evidence of horses. So you don't need to be an oxford scholar to work out that if there are weeds on one section of the walking track with evidence of horses but not in the sections of walking track where there is no evidence of horses that the horses might be the culprit.I really don't get *your* fixation on poo. You keep on bringing it up - I mentioned it as evidence that the horses were in the same area as the weeds and made no further comment on it until you made a big thing of it. And you keep bringing it up.Around Blue Waterholes there is little damage I could see from wombats but obvious stream bank damage with horse hoof prints around it.To spin your wombat erosion question around, do you believe that the horses are doing any damage to park? If so, do you think that the amount of damage is significant or insigificant? Do you think the "rate of damage" is increasing, staying the same or decreasing?If there were 4000 4wd's in the northern area of Kosciusko national park then I'm sure the management plan would change. In fact the management has changed - lots of tracks have been closed over the years because of the damage the vehicles were doing to the park. Many of the roads are closed in winter. I support that. As I understand it, the same has happened to recreational horses - the area they are allowed in has shrunk over time (something I note you're not happy with).I don't support the park being trashed by adding lots of new vehicle tracks. There are a few left which provide access to points in the park that would otherwise be difficult and I think that's a good thing. But there are large areas without any/many tracks the public can drive on and that's a great thing.Is it ok to drive to Blue Waterholes - sure. Is the damage caused by a small number of horses ok - probably. Is the damage caused by the current number of horses ok - probably not. But we're a long way off where this proposed question started... so I'm going to leave it.
Themba about 3 years ago
Sorry but I just have to ask about this comment "Yes, wombats dig up the hills. Horses aren't native". Are you saying if the species is native then it doesn't matter what damage they are doing? I have seen wombat do much more damage than any horse, in fact quite a few of our neighbours shoot them because of the damage they do to their land!
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InterestedObserver about 3 years ago
Damage is in the eyes of the beholder. I see wombat burrows and other signs of native species activity as a part of our natural landscape. Yes, they are native and they are supposed to burrow. I see horse grazed and trampled areas as damage that isn't supposed to exist in Australia. Clearly others have a diifferent opinion. Unfortunately it seems more acceptible to shoot a wombat than to shoot a horse.
HVBA Vice President about 3 years ago
Hi Peter, there actually has been quite a lot of research done on how horse and weeds interact. Most of it has been done in America, but this sort of thing transfers pretty well anywhere. Here is some that I found when looking into this topic last year.http://articles.latimes.com/2006/jan/20/local/me-horseweeds20 - these guys found that even though the horses were not being fed a "weed-free" diet, they were not eating weeds that were available to them and hence not spreading them. Horses are selective graziers, so this is not too surprising.http://www.cal-ipc.org/symposia/archive/pdf/2006/EDQuinn.pdf is a link to a presentation on the above study.http://www.aerc.org/EnduranceNews_West_Weed_Study.pdf - this talks about a study that looked at what happens with domestic horses bringing weeds in by seeds from the feed passing through the horses gut or are being carried on their feet. So "the results of the study showed that non-native weeds didnot germinate from hoof debris or manure samples grown in pots, but on average 5.4 % of the hay samples from 20 horse/rider teams at the five endurance rides did contain non-native weeds (Gower 2008). The most prevalent weed was Canadian thistle. However, no non-native weeds germinated from the hay, manure, or hoof debris samples placed on the trails at the five sites." and "no seeds were found on the coat, tail or mane of any horse at the nine rides. Also, non-native weeds did not germinate from manure or hoof debris samples placed in the pots and grown in ideal conditions."This similar study http://forestecology.forest.wisc.edu/Research_Details.html?Horses_Western found that "The pot study showed that manure and hay samples did contain seeds from non-native plants; however, the hay, manure and hoof debris samples placed on the trail showed conclusively that non-native plants (or any plants for that matter) did not get established on the trail". Many believe that being planted directly in manure would provide an advantage, but remember if you want to use manure on your garden, it has to be old manure other wise it burns the plants ,too much nitrogen I think, so horse manure is not a great vector for weeds ""Harmon (1934) notes that composted horse manure virtually kills all weed seeds".Unfortunately I didn't save the link to this one, but I'll put in the extract anyway because it makes an excellent point. "The primary vectors of weed seed spread are wind, water, avians, and rodents. There is no documented evidence of the horse spreading weeds. A Montana study by Tyser and Worley (1992) implicated timothy (Phleum pratense) and bluegrass (Poa pratensis) as species that had been included in past roadside seeding by the local highway authority. In California, the Department of Transportation (CalTrans) has recently been identified as the number one spreader of yellow star thistle by its past practices of scattering various weed-laden hays during roadside rehabilitation projects to control erosion. CalTrans has now switched to wetland chaff from rice crops for soil stabilization purposes which does not contain thistle seeds."There is plenty more like this if you look, so I think that it is unlikely we can blame the horses for the spread of weeds.Finally, this one is a little off topic, but worth mentioning anyway because of the complaints about the large volume of manure at some sites. http://www.bayequest.info/static/pdf/manure.pdf this states that "No major human disease has ever been accurately attributed to the intimate contact human beings have had with horses for thousands of years. " and "Veterinarians and vet students probably have the greatest exposure to true risk from horse manure... Nevertheless, there has never been a documented case of veterinarians contracting illness as a result of this rather extreme true exposure to horse manure." and finally "We believe that exposure to horse manure is one fear people can cross off of their list of things to worry about."Hope that helps.
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peter_mcc about 3 years ago
Thanks - that's the sort of factual info I was after. I wasn't sure how the horses could be spreading them but it seemed there was a close correlation between the horse dung/tracks and the weeks.BTW, I don't think horse poo is a health hazard - it's just unpleasant to have to smell and walk around...
gerg1400 over 3 years ago
I would like to see the NPWS consider retaining some brumbies at sustainable levels for cultural and scientific reasons in the three main areas where they currently reside. They will still need to be managed but they play such a significance in the cultural lore of the Snowy Mountains that they could be a tourist drawcard where they can be easily seen. I have seen people on the Gungarlin area just gawking at them as they usually have never seen a wild brumby.NPWS could also work more closely with local stockmen as happened in the Cox River area and allow the stockmen to round up horses every year making it overall cheaper for the park service. This used to work in the past. But I guess it requires a degree of trust
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peter_mcc over 3 years ago
I'm not sure that would work so well as you can't control where the horses go. If you greatly reduce their numbers to protect the environment then there will (obviously!) be a lot less horses, making it far less likely that they can be reliably seen and thus a tourist drawcard.Last weekend near Blue Waterhole (northern KNP) we saw no horses the first evening (as we drove in), one mob of about 20 on the second day whilst walking (including a drive to Yarrangabilly & back) and then 4-5 groups on the third day on the way home. With the exception of 2 horses who ran across the road in front of us all the others were well off in the distance, reducing their "tourist attractiveness factor".
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gerg1400 over 3 years ago
Well I have also walked in this area in early 2013 and our group saw several groups of brumbies and one one occasion we stopped to gawk as 25 brumbies ran across a field which we soon saw was caused by a group of horse tourists from the south coast came into our viewI also was on the Gungarlin river in April this year and stopped to talk to another driver who had stopped on the track so his young son could view a couple of brumbies grazing by the side of the trail. Both areas are where brumbies are. Interestingly they have been able to manage the Snowy Plains area as brumby numbers are stable or actually down. Yes down I believe. You wouldnt want brumbies to be in great numbers along main tracks as that would be dangerous. However if you park the car and walk a bit you can find them in some areas: especially Tantangara and Snowy Plains
InterestedObserver about 3 years ago
What's a sustainable level? It seems that most of the 'managed populations' of horses around the world are in the order of 200 animals. 3 x 200 is a lot less than the current estimates of horses in Kosciusko. How would you suggest reducing the current poopulation to a sustainable level?
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Bio-Brumby about 3 years ago
Hi InterestedObserver, Wild Horses in sustainable numbers mean to me they are not reducing ecosystem resilience, or its ability to seasonally recover. For ecosystems to be resilient, they need a healthy diversity of individuals, species and populations. This can be measured by monitoring the areas horses live in and keeping resilience within limit. As occurs now in many areas of KNP. Regards, Bio-Brumby
RKR about 3 years ago
Another topic of conversation could be, why is this site that is supposed to be unbiased to either side covered with the NPWS slogans and advertisements "Protect the Snowies" and no advertisement allowed for Protect the brumby.I believe this campaign by the NPWS was not about engaging with the community to get the right outcome, it has been an un even playing ground in the favour of the tax payer funded campaigns run by the NPWS with the intention of changing the minds of the brumby advocate groups rather then creating a Wild Horse Management Plan that is balanced and provides an outcome for all parties.
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peter_mcc about 3 years ago
It's probably covered with "protect the snowies" stuff because that is what NPWS is required to do as a first priority by law. Did you forget that the horses are feral animals like deer, rabbits and pigs when it comes to the native Australian bush?
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Themba about 3 years ago
Funny enough humans come into the same category when you talk about the "native Australian bush". We are not exactly a native species in Australia.
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peter_mcc about 3 years ago
True! That's why NPWS tries to limit the impact humans have too. Unfortunately for the wildlife aerial culling and trapping are considered inappropriate to use on humans...
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Themba about 3 years ago
Pity! :-)
Bio-Brumby about 3 years ago
Hi Peter_mcc, It seems to me NSW legislation balances conserving nature with conserving cultural values. The second and third objectives [which are standalone objectives] of the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 (NSW) focus on conserving cultural value within the landscape. National Parks are for all Australians to value, experience and enjoy. This includes people who love bush walking, spiritual uplifting, Aboriginal history & post-settlement cultural heritage. The act makes a point of conserving both nature and cultural values; therefore we need to retain a reasonable balance of Brumby heritage in the environment they and native species have lived for over 200 years. Regards, Bio-Brumby
Khankhan about 3 years ago
Many contributors claim that feral horses numbers were not a problem until recently, why do they claim that? They talk of traditional methods used by man of control. What were those traditional methods? Some real detail would be appreciated. I know the topic has been closed, but would they be considered as humane and would they be effective in reducing the huge numbers of horses we have in KNP now? Few in the pro-brumby camp seem to be making any real effort to offer solutions.
InterestedObserver about 3 years ago
How about a discussion about what a sustainable number of horses in KNP would be?
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HVBA Vice President about 3 years ago
Fantastic idea!
peter_mcc about 3 years ago
Question - what is doing the damage?I found a set of photos of damage being attributed to horses on the bshwalking.org.au site, taken on recent walks. The author seems convinced that the damage is being done by horses. Some people have questioned that horses are doing damage that is attributed to them. I'd be interested to know what people think has caused the damaged in the photos athttps://www.flickr.com/photos/91914657@N08/sets/as it seems quite extensive, especially compared to the photos 10 years ago.
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peter_mcc about 3 years ago
Probably related to this, what has changed in the last 20-30 years?From looking at photos linked by bushwalking.org.au - https://www.flickr.com/photos/91914657@N08/sets/72157640131136784/ - there seemed to be little to no damage around Tin Mines in 1986. But there appears to be lots of damage now.Has the number of horses increased greatly since then? Why is there so much more damage now?
HVBA Vice President about 3 years ago
Hi Peter, I would love to talk about this topic as well! I had a look at these photos and found them pretty interesting too. One of the photos was labelled "wild horse wallow" I've never seen a wild horse wallow, and that didn't look like anything I've ever seen a horse do in my life, but it did look very similar to some damage I've seen done by pigs, which certainly do wallow, and also root around looking for tubers etc to eat.As an anecdotal side note, I grew up on a rice farm, and my horses were allowed to roam in pretty much what ever paddock I felt like putting them in. Sometimes this meant putting them in with the irrigated rice. I never, ever saw them go into a rice bay unless it was dry. In my 20 years of owning horses, I have found that they pretty much prefer to stay out of wet muddy areas if possible. When it flooded in my thoroughbreds paddock last year, he was very reluctant to come off the little hill in the middle because he would have to walk through the water and mud. Obviously they will travel through it when necessary, but I'm actually surprised by the reports of them preferring to eat in the wet areas. I would like to know others experience of this, perhaps some owners of kozi Brumbies could comment on if their Brumbies hang out in the wet areas of the paddock preferring to graze there. I know the HVBA ones don't, they seem to love their nice dry grass hay most of all.I also noticed that a lot of these photos were from the area near the exclusion plots, this is the most common place people report seeing this kind of damage, and when our committee visited this area, we saw that because the horses were all being funneled through the gaps between the exclusion plots, those areas were much more damaged than anywhere else in the park. I think this is really interesting because it shows how human intervention can sometimes exacerbate an issue. Another point was that while some of the pug marks could clearly be attributed to a horse, a lot could not and using pug marks to determine what is causing the damage is difficult anyway. It doesn't take into account the cumulative effects of what happens if a herd of deer has just walked through the area, and then the horses have come through after them. While it may look like the horses have caused this huge indentation in the ground, it doesn't account for the fact that they were stepping on an area that had already been trampled and so it looks like they have caused more damage then they actually have. I definitely think its a great topic to discuss!
RKR about 3 years ago
A topic of discussion should be the impact of the result of the extinction of Australia's Mega Fauna has had over past 6000+ years on the environment, and is the brumby simply taking the role of the Mega Fauna in turning the wheels of biodiversity?
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peter_mcc about 3 years ago
Wikipedia seems to think that the Australian mega fauna became extinct about 16000BC - or 18,000 years ago. If horse lovers are going to say that the environment has adjusted somehow to the horses in less than 200 years then I think we can safely say it has adjusted to the lack of mega fauna in 18000 years...
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RKR about 3 years ago
Correct me if i am wrong Peter, but i thought the goal was and should be is to ensure that the snowies is as healthy as it can be? Most scientists believe that humans hunted the mega fauna to extinction, wouldnt ensuring that the park has big animal activity bring to life what once was before humans killed them off or do you just want to be what you think it should be right now?
peter_mcc about 3 years ago
I think it would be interesting to discuss what is happening overseas with feral/wild horses. While looking for photos of helicopters near horses I found articles about the USA:http://acreativemoment.com/2014/06/18/grassroots-efforts-making-big-progress-in-horse-rescue/http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/06/us/06horses.html?_r=0http://wildhorsepreservation.org/issueThey seem to have a lot lower wild horse numbers - the first one says there are 25000 horses in 137,000km2 or about 20x the area of KNP.It looks like they do a lot of helicopter mustering which doesn't look too good for the horses. Then put the wild horses on ranches until they can find a home for them - there are apparently 50,000 on ranches which costs them millions of dollars each year...They make what NPWS is doing look positively sane & saintly!
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RKR about 3 years ago
Great idea Peter, however, I suggest instead of undertaking a "simple" search you need to look into it a little further. in order to assist and for your edification, I have posted some links you should review and get back to us.http://www.eurowildlife.org/news/wild-horses-are-returning-to-the-heart-of-europe/http://watchdocumentary.org/watch/wild-horses-return-to-china-video_a407dd484.htmlhttp://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/cambridgeshire/4555365.stm
Themba over 3 years ago
There are two topics I would really like to see discussed and studied.1. The value and possible benefits the wild horses provide to their environment (I am referring to removal NOT re-introduction). There needs to be a study conducted on what positive impacts the horses may have on their environment. They have been in that environment for well over 100 years so it would be very useful to find out if there are any inter-dependencies of plants and/or other animals on the grazing behavior of the horses. For example: does their grazing behavior allow particular native species of plants to flourish where they would otherwise not grow? Do they discourage feral pigs from being in the same area?Before any large scale removal of the horses is performed we need to look into these impacts to ensure we don't causing greater damage to the environment. Unfortunately humans have a tendency to try and make the environment what they think it should be and in so doing cause more damage. All the studies that I have seen in Australia to date have centred around the negative impacts and totally overlooked any possible benefits. Without a study on the possible benefits we could be making a huge mistake by removing the horses.2. I would also like to see genetic testing done on the wild horses. A number of the wild horses in the snowy's display the distinctive pale colouring on their bodies associated with primitive horse breeds. As the domestic population of horses becoming increasingly in-bred we may also find that these wild horses will be highly valued in the future to increase genetic diversity. We should be looking at the DNA of these wild horses to ascertain their possible value in the future.
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Khankhan over 3 years ago
In response to Themba's two topics:1. We need to be very careful here. Up until the last decade or so, although there was evidence of feral horse damage, horse numbers were low (but increasing). Certainly back in the grazing days there were even fewer feral horses. Remember they competed for grazing rights and were seen as posing difficulties and interference with the stock horses. Graziers removed them. Yes shot them, and often for dog meat too. I have read some of the concerns over the latest estimate of feral horse numbers and the claimed doubling of their numbers each 4 years. There is a standard population growth estimate formula that shows this: P1 = P0(1 +r) exp.t. Where P1 = the population estimate; P0 = population now; r = rate of growth, and expontential (power) t = time. This allows readers to calculate the growth in numbers, over time, given any growth rate 'r'.We are today talking about an exponential increase in numbers and a corresponding increase in impacts and damage, where there is no respite, no rest period, only more horses and more damage. I expect that the trampling impacts, given the wet areas and environment of alpine and sub-alpine areas, would far outway any grazing effects. If Themba's wish were granted, the trampling impacts are likely to demonstrate the complete loss of plants, animals, birds and invertibrates. When you get to that stage its hard to show and to convince people that something is gone, because they can't see that it was there before.2. On the other hand I wholely agree with Themba about DNA testing of feral horses. In addition to Themba's hopes, it might also show where horses have come from, ie who has released them into the park. This has been an ongoing problem. Yes, humans release horses, pigs, deer, cats, etc. either because they are unwanted, or to improve the breeding stock for their own hunting purposes. In the case of horses, this may be brumby running.
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Bio-Brumby over 3 years ago
Hi Khankhan, I support sustainable Brumby populations living wild in the park – BUT in sustainable numbers. Let’s progress these chats from talk of potential increase in numbers – to identify sustainable levels that give KNP a win win, i.e. landscapes benefit from increased bio-diversity larger grazing animals (remember Mega fauna?) bring without losing long term robustness. Let’s start talking about how to manage for sustainable Brumby populations. Regards, Bio-Brumby
Themba over 3 years ago
1. So, are you saying there is no point in conducting a study into the possible co-dependency of plants and/or animals in the park on the horses? Yes, the horses have been shot in the past and are still being shot (illegally) in the present but I don't understand what that would have to do with a study on the possible benefits of the horses grazing behaviour. For anyone who loves the park I would have thought it would be quite important to know that removing the horses will not create more issues than it will solve. Wouldn't it be better to know this before the removal rather than after the fact?2. I'm not sure what you think my "hopes" are regarding DNA. I was thinking along the lines of seeing if any of the horses contained DNA that may be useful in the future to provide diversity to domestic horse populations and possibly specific horse populations in decline. If that were the case they would become highly valued and also be a source of income for the park. I don't quite understand how this DNA would be used to identify horses that have been released into the park by people wanting to improve the breeding stock or what it has to do with brumby running sorry?
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InterestedObserver about 3 years ago
1. Have studies been done on the possible benefits of other pest species? 2. DNA testing is a great idea. Perhaps it can be combined with fertility controls. The only problem would be finding the money to do it.
RKR about 3 years ago
The list goes on....Another topic of conversation should be that if one of the reasons for removing the Brumby is for the safety of traffic, should the same be done with the population of kangaroo's and wombats between Tumut and Talbingo or should the traffic only drive to the conditions where it doesn't involve Brumbies.
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peter_mcc about 3 years ago
The horses are a non-native feral animal in KNP, something the NPWS has an obligation to control the impacts of. The kangaroos and wombats are native and protected.Horses also tend to be higher than the average kangaroo and all wombats and so are more dangerous to cars. If you hit a wombat it might total your car but you should be ok. If you hit a kangaroo it will probably bounce off the front rather than going in the windscreen.But if you hit a full size horse it may well go over the bonnet and land on your lap. Should that happen the average horse is a heck of a lot heavier than a large kangaroo and so a lot more dangerous to the car occupants.
RKR about 3 years ago
Another topic of discussion should be, is the real reason for locking horse riders out of the majority of the park because the NPWS are already undertaking eradication of the brumby by way of the bullet against Government Policy?
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peter_mcc about 3 years ago
Do you have any evidence at all that NPWS is shooting horses in the KNP? If they were trying to hide something they would need to "lock out" everyone to hide the evidence, not just horse riders.Should I be upset because I can't ride by mountain bike anywhere I want? Or drive my 4WD randomly across the plains?
Donna over 3 years ago
I would like to see a discussion on the close historical ties the local people have with the brumbies, their family history and their thoughts on the future of the horses in the park. I feel an important aspect of our Australian culture is being overlooked in this process and the families with generations of ties to the mountains and the horses are not having their history recognised sufficiently, or with enough respect. Another great one would be "Do you consider Brumbies part of our heritage"
Happy Jack over 3 years ago
I would like a discussin on " Is arial shooting an acceptable control method and what should happen to the carcass?"
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Themba over 3 years ago
I would have to disagree with this, it has been proven to be an inhumane method of killing horses in this type of terrain. We should be looking at humane methods of control, just because the horses have been labelled "feral" does not mean they should not be treated in a humane manner.
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HVBA Vice President over 3 years ago
Discussion is always good, gives us a chance to explain why its so bad and hopefully educate others on why we should never resort to an inhumane method just because it is the easy way out of a complex problem. I mean surely we can come up with a better solution than "lets just shoot them all", but its a valid discussion topic.
peter_mcc over 3 years ago
When has it been proven as inhumane? I know people bring up the Guy Fawkes NP cull - as I understand it only 1 horse out of 606 culled did not die quickly. That sounds pretty good to me, given that I'd guess more than that proportionally die of starvation/etc every year which wouldn't be a "humane" way to die.Philosophically should we extend that same approach to all feral animals - deer, pigs, wild dogs, foxes, rabbits? I'm not sure I have a coherent answer to that one. I'm happy to see foxes die and don't really care how "humane" it is. Should horses be treated differently? How much extra money should be spent to ensure they are treated differently? The last two would certainly make for an interesting discussion questions...
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HVBA Vice President over 3 years ago
Hi Peter, The standard operating procedure for Aerial shooting of wild horses says that it can be inhumane if used inappropriately. It says it should not be even considered unless there is good visibility because its too hard to perform follow up shots if there is a miss hit and its too difficult to see if there are any foals hiding in the bushes that will starve if their mother is shot (and we all know visibility in this area must be difficult because the standard error on the aerial count is ridiculously large). Those of us opposed to aerial culling are also concerned by the terror that the horse endures before it is killed. As the standard operating procedure itself states "Sensitive livestock such as deer, ostriches and domestic HORSES are easily frightened by gunshots, helicopter noise, wind and so on and might injure themselves by running into fences and other obstacles. Avoid shooting in areas where these livestock are or organise their removal from the area before the shooting program" (how is it even possible that a document talking about shooting horses can tell you not to do it around horses because you might scare them). The only work that has been done on the humaneness of this method has been done in places like outback Northern Territory, were visibility is great and you can easily see that you had five horses and now all five horses are dead, but even this work did not take into account the trauma of being chased by a helicopter as a means to death. A humane death is one free of stress, pain and fear, aerial culling cannot offer a humane death.
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peter_mcc over 3 years ago
Hi HVBA Vice PresidentHas anyone compared the "humaneness" of aerial shooting compared to trapping/transporting/knackery? Looking at the 2008 Plan of Management and other docs it seems the horses aren't too keen on being trapped and then put onto trucks. How does that compare in your mind to being (effectively) chased by a helicopter?Would aerial shooting be ok if it was carried out on the open plains where there was fairly good visibility?
peter_mcc over 3 years ago
hi again. Surely anything can be inhumane if it isn't used appropriately - the same could be said for trapping. I've read somewhere about how sometimes mobs get separated inside/outside the trap and some horses get quite "upset" about that. Plus when they are in the trap and humans approach they get spooked. Sounds like stress & fear to me. Quoted from an ABC article: "Mr Gibbs says the wild horses can get aggressive and stressed, especially when they first come into human contact. It can take hours to load them onto the trucks.". The Australian Brumby Alliance talks about transport being stressful for all horses but especially for wild ones. And how it can take a week or so for them to settle down. Then they need to be trained to get used to humans - surely that is stressful for them! The Victorian Brumby Alliance says "Yes, catching any wild animal is an inherently stressful experience, but as you can see, stress can and should be minimised". I mention both of these because I get the feeling that rehoming is being pushed as "humane" when it seems to me it would contain significant amounts of stress.I know it's an unanswerable question but how does the stress of being caught, transported and broken in over weeks/months compare to (say) 10mins of running from a helicopter?Are you sure the issue with the standard error on the aerial count is due to visibility? I tried to read more about how distance sampling worked but my head began to spin - statistics isn't my thing. Even if it was, the SOP talks about its usefulness being limited in heavily vegetated areas - as you say, they need good visibility.re "scaring domestic horses" - I guess if you're flying a helicopter around you will scare any horse, wild or domestic. A car scares them - we came across a mother/foal about 100m off the Long Plain Firetrail and as we got close they bolted for their life across the road 50m in front of us. They were scared - it wasn't running for fun. If it was done out in the open there shouldn't be much they can run into - no fences or other obstacles - so it should be "safe" for them to run.If the culling is done properly then it should be quick and painless for the horses - and so I'd argue that it is at least as humane as trapping them and rehoming them.If culling isn't done properly then obviously it may not be humane - and it shouldn't be done.There are no real excuses for either bad culling or bad trapping.
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peter_mcc over 3 years ago
There is a new topic on "humane treatment" - I'll repost a revised version of the above over there tonight as it would be a better place to continue the discussion.
Donna over 3 years ago
In support of the comment made by HVBA VP, I'd just like to add that even in the 'ideal' conditions of the Northern Territory in which the now almost infamously 'successful' cull occurred last year, there were horses left suffering with non lethal wounds for days, horses who drowned in the lake in an attempt to escape further shots once initially hit, and despite this still no available data to support the subsequent claims of success, no photographic evidence of correct procedure being followed; in fact nothing at all to ease the minds of those of us concerned with the welfare of these horses in particular or indeed any who may subjected to this type of 'control'. How are we to ensure this type of clandestine behaviour is not considered the norm in future, should aerial culling recommence in NSW?? You ask when it's been proven inhumane and I ask what actual proof do we have that it actually IS?? As to your other two questions relating to the treatment of horses as opposed to other pest species - no offence to you personally but I'm so tired of people trivialising the history the entire WORLD has with horses, let alone the role they've played in the history of our own country! It is an insult to the thousands we sent to die in wars, the innumerable ones we discard every day when they're no longer wanted or needed for whatever purpose; mere wastage to us like yesterdays garbage. And then there are those we condemn with the title of 'feral pest', remnants of a time when they were considered a valuable asset, now equal to cane toads. I realise you're likely to consider my response as no more than an emotionally charged rant, however I'm also of the belief that anyone who is "happy to see foxes die" is not likely to show much compassion to any animal unlucky enough to be deemed a pest.
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peter_mcc over 3 years ago
I had a long reply typed up last night but the site went offline before I could post it. Luckily I saved a copy...I'll edit it and post it in the "humane treatment' topic as it is more appropriate there.
Themba over 3 years ago
I'm a little tired of the "only 1 horse out of 606 culled did not die quickly" argument. As it has already been clearly pointed out in other forums here, that statement is simply not true. There was more than 1 horse that did not die quickly but the cruelty cases the RSPCA brought up were localised to 1 case to minimise the time spent in the court system. As to your total disinterest as to whether foxes die in a humane manner or not, I can only see this as a total lack of empathy. Would it bother you to see people die in the same manner that you are proposing for the horses? If so, then why do you think it is acceptable for the horses or other animals to be treated in that way, is it simply because they are not human?
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peter_mcc over 3 years ago
Re Guy Fawkes NP Cull - I think the discussion is better placed in the "humane treatment" thread. I won't get a chance to post what I'd typed there tonight but will try tomorrow (it needs to be edited/rewritten to stand alone)For the foxes - I started my reply to Donna with "Hi Donna. I was a bit harsh about the foxes (and other feral animals) - I can see many ways to kill them that are inappropriate because of the pain/etc caused.". I'm sorry I expressed myself poorly before. As for "Would it bother you to see people die in the same manner that you are proposing for the horses?" - of course it would. People are different to other animals. Taking it to one extreme, we eat other animals - we don't eat other humans. There are lots of other ways that we treat animals differently - we don't make horse saddles from human skin but we do use cow skin. Horses don't have seatbelts and airbags in their floats (or air conditioning or music). We have Medicare for humans but no wide scale government provided health cover for animals. It may seem unpalatable but society treats animals differently to humans, placing a larger value on human life. I think a more relevant question is how differently should they be treated.
Bio-Brumby over 3 years ago
Hi Happy Jack & Admin, I suggest rather than focus on one control method that the questions could be more like, What methods to control horse populations do you consider acceptable, and if the method involves killing in the park, what should happen to the carcass? Regards, Bio-Brumby
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Happy Jack over 3 years ago
Thanks B-B, widening the middle ground again... I like it!
Mel over 3 years ago
Exactly. Also, hardly humane. Even if there was a need for reducing numbers, this is nothing but a gun happy shooting spree, horrific, brutal and inhumane...
Themba over 3 years ago
I have to ask why the wild horses appear to have become the "whipping boy" of the environment and people seem to think that the park will become some ideal place once they have been removed! if the park is so damaged by the horses then why do so many people visit there?? It is marketed as being pristine and yet we are constantly being told the horses have wrecked it and need to go. I would really like to see a discussion focusing on all the damage being done by the many people visiting the park each year!Current estimates are approx. 3 million people visiting the park each year and approx. 30,000 hiking to the top of Mount Kosciuszko. We should be looking at the damage that amount of people is causing to the park through the proliferation of walking tracks, the spread of weeds on their shoes and cars, the garbage they leave behind and the inevitable urine and faeces of that many people! We should be more worried about the damage being done to the Pygmy Possum and Bogong Moth habitats by the development of the ski fields and the infrastructure that goes along with it than constantly blaming the wild horses for everything that is wrong with the park. It appears that people turn a blind eye to all the ski lifts and roads being built because its for people to use so it's ok.
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peter_mcc over 3 years ago
One difference I see between the horses and other things you mention is that the horses seem to be growing in numbers & impact while the other "damaging" things are staying pretty much the same. I'm not aware that much has been done to add to the walking track network. The ski fields are pretty much developed - certainly Thredbo hasn't changed much in the last 20 years in terms of lift terrain though they have added some housing.I don't think people are blaming the horses for everything that is wrong - but as far as I can see they do have a large environmental impact that is growing.
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Themba over 3 years ago
Actually the other "damaging" things are not staying pretty much the same and are increasing in numbers it's just that they are not as easily seen as the horses (hard to miss a horse standing in the open). The Pygmy Possum habitat is restricted to about eight square kilometres in Kosciusko Park. They need a snow depth of at least one metre to provide them with enough insulation to keep warm during hibernation. The ski fields unfortunately cause compaction of the snow and the removal of vegetation cover for ski runs breaks up their habitat. The noise of the ski fields also reduces their hibernation time.
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Taleb over 3 years ago
Recent research has called into question original estimates of Possum habitat, and shows that the Possums may in fact be less dependant on snow cover than originally thought, given that new populations have been found at lower altitudes (down to 1200m). Regardless, the arguments of Horses and Possums are really independant of each other given that horses do not occupy the boulderfield habitat of the possums...and plenty is being done to research and minimise the effect of other impacts on this species.
gerg1400 over 3 years ago
Peter_mccActually I have noticed a more pronounced and increased impact from pigs lately. This has been growing for a while but they seem to have spread further and do much more damage (more than horses in some areas)
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peter_mcc over 3 years ago
I've no reason to disbelieve you. I was surprised by the damage pigs can do - I haven't seen much evidence of them around Dead Horse Gap in the past but their destruction was evident around Blue Waterhole on the Nicols Gorge track.I'm glad it seems there isn't a "wild boar lovers" association trying to protect them :-)
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gerg1400 over 3 years ago
Yep Pedro-mcc I agree. Pigs have dug up all around Kidmans hut in the last 2 years, dug all around Pretty Plain, plenty of pig diggings up behind Derskchos Hut, have seen lots of diggings along grey Mare Fire Trail, also on western side of Happy Jacks Plain, reported by another close to Four Mile Dam Hut, they are all along the eastern edge of the Great Divide from Cesjacks to near Tin hut and down into the Gungarlin valley, and I have seen them in Namadgi NP but not in great numbers there. I came upon a group of 15 (old to young) at headwaters of Temperance Ck just SW of Tabletop Mountain 3 years ago. I am unsure about down south. The last I was at Cowombat and Tin Mines Huts around 2001 it didnt seem effected by pigs, but things change. Even brumbies weren't that numerous then and that was before the 2003 fires
Mbidgee over 3 years ago
Many people visit the park, but as you have noted, they are concentrated into small areas, like Kosciuszko summit and the snowfields in winter. This means that the impacts can be more easily managed eg. construction of a paved walking track to the summit to reduce the erosion of a walking track with a soft surface. The problem with horse impact is that is is widespread across large areas of park, even if the impacts are more obvious in the bog areas. I don't know anyone who is blaming horses 'for everything that is wrong with the park'. Its just that horses are having a significant and rapidly increasing impact.
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Themba over 3 years ago
I don't believe that I said people were only concentrated into small areas of the park. Along with all the people who visit the summit and the snowfields you also have bushwalkers, hunters and campers who go off the designated tracks and make their own tracks. Contrary to what you have said, the horses are not widespread across large areas of the park, they are in fact concentrated in particular areas of the park. This is one thing all the studies done so far have agreed on. If there are only estimated to be around 4,500 horses in the park then I would hardly call that a rapidly increasing impact on the park. It's a big park and that many horses can't be everywhere! Personally, I think people have done alot more damage and are still doing more damage to the park than any particular animal in the park. It appears the horses are a ready excuse for people to blame something other than themselves for the so called decline of the park. The park was doing just fine before all the hordes of people started making it their holiday destination during summer and winter!
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peter_mcc over 3 years ago
You've picked the lower estimate - if you pick the higher one then there are lots more. Because the horses aren't everywhere their impact is even more concentrated. Most of the areas where the horses are aren't highly used by humans.At Blue Waterholes the horse tracks were obvious - the human tracks not. Where the horses used the walking track it was dirt and eroded into the surface with weeds around. Where the horses didn't use the track it was compacted grass with no bare soil or weeds. Coincidence? The hoof print size & piles of dung would indicate that the track damage was being done by horses though I also did see evidence of pigs destroying the area. All over the area it is easy to see the horse trails. Down at the creek it is easy to see where the horses have damaged the banks and steep hillside - in a way that humans don't seem to have.
peter_mcc over 3 years ago
Assuming horses should be reduced in numbers [1], should they be treated differently to other feral animals? Why?How much extra money should be spent to ensure they are treated differently? It would be interesting to see the responses as long as people could remain polite to each other.[1] I added that to remove it from the "should horse numbers be reduced" issue, to try to keep the conversation manageable
RobM over 3 years ago
can we have a topic specifically about the cultural significance of the wailer and its conservation
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Donna over 3 years ago
RobM, I think you'll find the topic of 'Waler v Brumby' to be highly contentious to say the least...there are many in the 'waler community' who do not see them as being remotely related and get rather hot under the collar when it's suggested they could be. Not that I disagree with your suggestion, just giving a head's up ;) Without DNA testing of different mobs, it will always be an unanswered question.
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RobM over 3 years ago
what would the DNA testing be looking at? What are the genetic antecedents/differences? A waler is a crossbreed is it not?
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Donna over 3 years ago
The Waler's are considered to be those who've come from station breeding over the years, with no introduction of modern breeds. DNA testing would compare the known genotype with that of the brumbies to determine similarities if any. Waler's are indeed a mixture of breeds, but are believed to be a specific mix of early breeds.
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RobM over 3 years ago
so the wild brumby population for it to be comparable to waler would only be possible under the assumption that it too has not be influenced by modern breeds? curious as to how realistic is that?
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Donna over 3 years ago
Well, one would think not very realistic at all, except for their being research which shows no genetic differences in mobs up to 2000klms apart....so it would seem it is possible. I personally would love to have the resources to conduct the research, it would be incredibly interesting to determine the 'types' we have in our brumbies.
RobM over 3 years ago
How about a topic around what is known of the population dynamics over history? a number of comments in the closed topics assert that the population has only become a problem in recent times. Maybe it would be worthwhile to explore why that would be.
Bio-Brumby over 3 years ago
I would like a discussion topic on impacts as a percentage across each KNP sub-region. "Traditional photos attributed to horse impacts indicate high impact levels, for example by Cowambat’s exclusion zone. How would you compare the photo as a percentage of the impacts across that sub-region of KNP? Consider classifying impacts as low [negligible], medium [damage is transitory or part of natural cycles] or high [sustained over 12 months]”. Regards, Bio-Brumby
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nicole over 3 years ago
Hi Bio-Brumby, thanks for your continued input to these forums. You might also consider adding this comment, or one similar, to the other new forum which opened today - "How could the community be more involved in monitoring and measuring the impacts of wild horses?" where it would also be relevant.
RobM over 3 years ago
hi I think a central question worthy of discussion here is: does "herbivore and environmental degradation caused by feral horses " justify consideration for listing as a " key threatening process" under the Threatened Species Act . It involves a process, but the outcome of that process becomes a clear determinant of future actions.
Bio-Brumby over 3 years ago
I would like a discussion topic on The ways wild horses support KNP Biodiversity", Regards, Bio-Brumby
Bio-Brumby over 3 years ago
I would like a discussion topic on "What are the benefits of having wild horses in KNP", Regards Bio-Brumby
HVBA Vice President over 3 years ago
Admin. I'm finding it really frustrating that there is only one very targeted topic (about adoption) where it is appropriate for discussion of the positive aspects of the spectacular wild horses of the snowy mountains. Every night I hop onto this forum ready to explain why I love these horses so much and have discussions about how we can help to manage their population in a way that is sustainable for the park. I feel that I'm always up against it, the topics have been so biased against the horses always starting from the standpoint of here are they reasons we think they must be removed urgently (not humanely or intelligently, but quickly and cheaply). Its so disheartening for those of us who love these horses with all our heart. Today the sweetest little unhandled kozi mare walked up to me in a 1 acre paddock and let me pat her on the neck while she ate chaff from a bucket I was holding. This mare has been with us now for 2.5 months, and due to her (now heavily) pregnant state, has been allowed to settle without the stress of training until she has her foal, the only interaction she has had is that we take her a bucket of food every day and walk through her paddock to get to our fully trained Brumbies, but she has decide to start her training early. Can you imagine, 10 weeks ago she would have bolted at the sight of me, yet today she walked straight up to me. Yesterday, a 5 year old Kozi (ex)herd Stallion (with only enough training to get him gelded) sniffed my outstretched hand in a 3acre paddock, there is no other feeling like it I can tell you. These are amazingly trusting animals with the sweetest natures and smartest minds. How can we let these animals die just because its the easy option. Why, rather than letting us discuss the profound impact they have on anyone who works with them and what we can do to provide a positive solution for their management, do you want to discuss every single possible negative impact that the horses might maybe have (but we don't know because we haven't done any research), its almost as though you want us to just throw our hands in the air and say "its all too hard, you win, you may as well just shoot them." Well let me tell you now, that will NEVER happen. No matter the degrading comments, wild accusation and unbelievable callousness that is driving away so many of my fellow Brumby Lovers. I will be here. Night after Night, reading every single comment that is made on every single thread, to provide the other side, maybe get the chance to educate someone on how amazing these horses are. I'm not saying we can't reduce the numbers, I'm not saying they shouldn't be managed, all I'm asking is that those of us on the side of the horse, get a chance to say our part. Lets have a discussion about "When has your business benefited from the wild horses" or "What do you think of the current management program" or "What is your preferred method of control" or "Do you have any suggestions to improve the current management plan" or "How can we increase the % of horses that are rehomed"...I could go on, not to mention any of the pro-brumby(or otherwise really) topics mentioned below. Compassionate Solutions, that's my motto. Unfortunately it would seem that this is not the point of this discussion board.
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nicole over 3 years ago
HI HVBA Vice President, we note your request to introduce another forum topic about rehoming the Brumbies. It is likely we will be re-opening some of the earlier topics, including "What do you think about how wild horses are removed from the National Park" and we will continue to be loading new content to the site. We very much appreciate your contribution to the discussions, and hope that you continue to participate.
Catherine Russell over 3 years ago
Hi All, thank you for your suggestions and contributions. We will keep this forum open till 30 November and should people seek an existing discussion topic to be reopened please let us know via this forum. If someone has made a suggestion that you agree with or disagree with, do use the voting buttons it will help us prioritise what topics are of interest to the community. Thank you.
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Bio-Brumby over 3 years ago
Hi Admin, Thanks for this information, from Bio-Brumby
Happy Jack over 3 years ago
To Admin,I thought this thread was to suggest or nominate topics.... NOT to discuss them here?????
The longer we wait... over 3 years ago
Compromises. Crazy ideas thad might actually solve the problem. Like maybe buy a big farm or commercial forest neighbouring the national park, call it a brumby sanctuary, subsidise it extravagently, and then remove the horses from within the boundary of the national park. If horses were running across the Galapagos Islands they'd be removed. While ever this argument is in stalemate the horses breed up and eventually more must be removed. That breaks my heart.
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HVBA Vice President over 3 years ago
Along this same line, maybe there are things we could do outside the KNP that could help the program. Here are some ideas off the top of my head. Putting more restrictions on breeding, particularly backyard breeding, so that there isn't such a build up of extra horses and more people would have room to take the brumbies. Higher fines and more follow up on those who claim to let horses go into the park, while this provides a valuable genetic boost to the population, it is unhelpful in terms of management. I always here about people saying they see them near their back fences, maybe there are farmers who would be willing to "trap" some mobs in their back paddocks and keep them there until KNP rangers could remove them, it might be more cost effective to pay for hire of a couple of paddocks that could be periodically opened up to allow horses in and then trap whatever comes in there. Maybe the KNP could organise training days with experienced rehoming organisations that could teach people who would like to take on large groups of brumbies but don't have the confidence how to do it, so we could get a higher percentage rehomed. Put up donation boxes at camp sites etc so people who go to the park specifically to see the horses can contribute to their management. There are issues with all these ideas, but maybe we need to start looking outside the box...
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The longer we wait... over 3 years ago
I really love your ideas!!!!!!!
Khankhan over 3 years ago
Thank you HVBA Vice President for your continued thinking outside of the box and endeavours to provide sanctuary and protection for many of the horses in KNP. I hope you are now tending toward the establishment of permanent non-Government and off-park properties upon which to run mobs of these horses. I expect you would know of the Guy Fawkes Heritage Horse Association and the Coffin Bay Brumby Preservation Society, both of which have properties designated for the preservation of their horses. Although I would like it noted that both groups are now having to address the issue of population growth in their horse mobs.Have you started to think about the opportunity to purchase your own properties for these horses? You can then provide veterinary care, breeding programs and general protection for these mobs, sales, etc as well as allowing easy public access and club members access to these horses in a natural environment.You, like some of us in the public, I expect have noted over many years the increasing cuts being inflicted upon the Parks Service. I would encourage you to take up the cudgel to undertake the training days yourselves. This approach may be more acceptable amongst horse lovers anyway.By comparison there are many other interest groups that have purchased their own properties in order to provide sanctuary for species, to protect areas of environmental integrity, or to allow their group to pursue their own specialist activity, interest, or belief, and they have not called for Government assistance in kind or in monetory terms. ie fishermen (I have seen a number of private properties breeding and stocking trout and inland black fish for tourists to fish in Tasmania); bird lovers (Gippsland, SA, Broome), 4WD enthusiasts (in NSW); environmentalists (Australian Wildlife Conservancy, Bush Heritage); and many sporting clubs (ie golf). Most or all of these operate as not-for-profit entities, which require continued financial and other support from their constituents. All such groups and organisations are also tapping into the tourism sector as a means of education and as an additional income earner.
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HVBA Vice President over 3 years ago
Khankhan The HVBA does everything in our power to protect the brumbies unfortunately we rely soley on donation from the public to operate so while our supporters are extremely generous, we do not even have 5% of the funds that would be required to purchase the type of sanctuary you are talking about, although we would absolutely LOVE to. We are hoping to move to a much larger sanctuary in the near future so that we can increase our operation, but it will not be the size you are talking about and anyway we are located in the Hunter Valley. We would happily run the training days ourselves, the reason that I am suggesting the rangers be involved in organising such a day is that while we are extremely willing to travel the 9hrs down to Tumut to be involved, most people will not travel up to us so we would need to work together to make something like this work in terms of organising facilities etc. These are all things that could be written into a management plan, so in terms of funding cuts, this doesn't really count because I assume they have a budget for the management plan and this would all fall within that. If, for example, the management plan included something like in Feburary each year before the trapping season started, a training and registration day would be held for people to register to take some of the trapped brumbies, then we could probably get a higher percentage rehomed. I know that one of the management options on the table is aerial mustering, this would mean that a larger number of horses were trapped at one time, so to ensure as many of these were rehomed as possible, there would need to be some changes to how we, as rescue organisations, operate. A register of each organisations availability is one such way to help this, as is training days to increase the number of rescue organisations out there. As I said there are issue with all of my suggestions, and I was really just throwing ideas out there, but I believe we need to stop arguing about every little issue and try and provide some constructive options for how we can improve this messy situation.
HVBA Vice President over 3 years ago
Just thought of another. We have had a "what do the snowies mean to you" discussion, could we have a "what do the horses mean to you" discussion?
Bio-Brumby over 3 years ago
Hi Admin, I note at least one discussion topic is open until 30 November, when all discussions close. I ask that the opportunity to request a discussion topic be also kept open for the full discussion duration. There will be new ideas arising as we progress with our understanding of the range of different discussion topics. From Bio-Brumby
Donna over 3 years ago
I think it's imperative and crucial to the success of this consultation and the development of any future management plan that a discussion on the proven impacts of the horses is included.The fact sheet provided lists limited information and no specific detail on long term effects or concrete evidence of the horses role in any degradation as opposed to other introduced species, and I strongly believe it's necessary this information is provided in order for all contributors to be fully informed so they may contribute and assist in future management. I wholeheartedly agree with the HVBA Vice President's comments regarding the level of impact needing to be ascertained in order to identify the most fragile and impacted areas and for those impacts to be attributed to the species causing them. It would seem the horses are being identified as the main perpetrators of any damage without sound evidence or research being conducted but rather a type of 'guesstimate' of their impacts; this is ensuring any future management plan will always be lacking and its overall success unable to be accurately measured. In identifying the areas most impacted, the impacts caused, the number of horses present, the presence and number of any other introduced species in the area and any other variables, there can be real progress for the park and the horses. I'm curious as to the number of native plants, if any, that have been irreparably damaged or reduced over the last several decades if possible, as well as data showing any increase in the number of natives, or any new species discovered in areas the horses inhabit. Irrefutable proof of their impact is needed in order to proceed with proper management and without it, we're flying blind in terms of ever reaching agreement on a sustainable number to remain, which areas are able to sustain them and at what number. The same data relating to native fauna or fragile ecosystems should be used and applied in any management plan and it's vital any positive effects or possible symbioses are identified and included in the plan.
HVBA Vice President over 3 years ago
I would like to have a discussion about what we call the horses because it seems everytime we have a community meeting we get stuck on this. I know that both the term "feral horse", and the term "Brumby" have negative connotations for some people, so I believe that the happy medium for what to call the horses is either "free roaming horses", or "wild horses". I know that some people think that the term 'Brumby' is too emotional, but I'm not sure if people realise that once the horse has been removed from the park, this is actually the technical term for it. The 'Brumby' is a registered breed in Autralia, with its own breed society (see abhr.com.au) and breed classes in many horse shows. For a horse to be considered part of the 'Brumby' breed the owner must be able to provide proof of capture or proof that both parents were wild. I also understand that the term "feral horse" is technically correct, but we believe that it is partly this term "feral" that leads people to believe they can treat the horses in the most inhumane ways possible (for example the practice of "tagging" where a person chases a, usually young, horse until they can catch it and cut the tips off one or both ears). We believe that people think the term "feral" gives them a licence to do what ever they would like, which is why people go "bunny bashing" when they would never usually think its ok to club an animal to death. I would love to know what other people think of these views and terms.