What happens if we do nothing? Is this a real option?

by Catherine Russell, about 3 years ago
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Should we stop all attempts to control the wild horse population? And if we do opt to do nothing, what could happen? 

THIS TOPIC WILL REMAIN OPEN TILL 12 DECEMBER




skifree about 3 years ago
Doing nothing has got to considered at best foolish if we want the Park to have any meaning for the native flora, fauna and ecosystem.Doing nothing means we do not care at all that the native flora, fauna and ecosystem of the Park which does not exist elsewhere and cannot be relocated or replaced.Thousands of horses have very fine lives else where outside the Park, they are not threatened species, there is no need for horses to be inside the Park.There is a need to remove them from the Park one way or the other because they do impact on native flora, fauna and ecosystem of the Park. It does not matter that some people consider to impact to be minimal (I do not consider the impact to minimal, a smashed up water hole is a smashed up water hole, weed control is always compromised by horses and the detail of impacts goes on an on), it is still an impact and can be addressed.
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Themba about 3 years ago
How is weed control always compromised by horses? Do they disturb the herbicide used by parks to control the weeds? I'm not sure I understand what you mean..
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skifree about 3 years ago
Horses spread weeds primarily through their poo and travel long distances.
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HVBA Vice President about 3 years ago
Actually horse manure is a very bad vector of weeds. I did put some info on this in a different thread, including links to some research regarding this.
Bio-Brumby about 3 years ago
Hi Skifree, I also have a problem with the do nothing option as I value KNP for its flora, fauna, landscapes, spiritual uplifting, and our Brumby social heritage. That said an overabundance of anything, including humans, is never good, we need sustainable balance so each value, interest we visit KNP to enjoy can be found. KNP wild Horses are a distinct breed, just as there are different domestic horse breeds, and being a key part of settlement history Brumbies need to be managed in sustainable ways. NSW legislation balances conserving nature with conserving cultural values. The second and third objectives of the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 (NSW) focus on conserving cultural value within the landscape. Each is a standalone objective, hence the challenge being to find the right balance, not an easy task for NPWS. Regards, Bio-Brumby
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skifree about 3 years ago
Bio-Brumby, personally I do hold hold with the white mans heritage arguments for maintaining any pest in the Parks.The Eco system of the Park is thousands of years old and under threat. White man is a very very very recent blow in and pretty much of his activities have been detrimental to the original ecosystem of the Park.I am not convinced by the claims the Parks horses are a different breed and therefore need to be protected as do corroboree frogs. People will start telling me the foxes and cats and rabbits have all evolved enough to be distinct breeds that need protecting shortly.
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Bio-Brumby about 3 years ago
Hi Skifree,Then we will have to agree to disagree. Bio-Brumby
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skifree about 3 years ago
No problem, you can maintain the breed outside the KNP just as hundreds of different breeds of horses, goats, cats, dogs, cattle from around the world are maintained by Australian breeders. This is probably a better way of keeping the breed pure given the real possibility (I have been told by horse handlers of getaways) incursion of new blood into the KNP herds.
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Bio-Brumby about 3 years ago
Hi Skifree, We did have an area wild horses could live in called KNP, but it became a national park. I could accept an alternative area, but it would need to be similar sized area and environment. BUT how can we be sure that a new Brumby designated area will not one day in the future again be re-classified national park - then the same issue starts again. Another idea could be to keep wild horses in one half of KNP (in sustainable numbers) and conduct ongoing scientific, peer reviewed studies over decades to monitor/compare flora & fauna diversity in the two KNP areas and at the same time meet the range of interests people visit KNP for. Regards, Bio-Brumby
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skifree about 3 years ago
I have seen the damage horses (and other animals) do in the Park. Having horses is not an option.It was known 100 years ago that cloven hoofed animals caused damage, that was one of the key reasons (among others for the) for the declaration of the Park. And led to a multi year project to address erosion caused by cloven hoofed animals. There is no need to repeat the experiment.The horses (and goats, cats, foxes, pigs, deer, sheep, cattle and others) are all very very late blowins to the very old ecosystem of the KNP. And they are able to be supported outside the KNP and so there is no need for them to be in the KNP and continue to impact on the the unique and ancient ecosystem of the Park.
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Bio-Brumby about 3 years ago
Hi Skifree, Since you do (not?) hold with the white man’s heritage arguments for maintaining any pest in the Parks, see White man as a recent blow in whose activities and not convinced Parks horses need protection as do Corroboree frogs, you are unlikely to hold with my response that;Many people & the NPWS Act, do strive to balance (not one vs other) sustainable native flora/fauna needs with Aboriginal/post settlement heritage values. Evolution moves forward so we can can’t return KNP to a pre-settlement period. I prefer we try to work together to find a balanced, sustainable solution so people who value horses living as they do in the wild in KNP (agree exclude from sensitive areas) can, as you do, visit KNP to see aspects of bio-diversity that appeal to us, managed in a sustainable way for future generations to interact with & enjoy. Regards, Bio-Brumby
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skifree about 3 years ago
Sorry, to me it is all an edge of the wedge situation.I keep being told it is sustainable to mine and log on National Parks. And now it is being suggested it is sustainable to have feral animals which I know from experience cause damage. Damage is damage.
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Bio-Brumby about 3 years ago
Hi again Skifree,Like the rhyme of your ‘edge of the wedge’ comment.Glad you have raised the query about mining/logging in National Parks as I am actually coming to realise this is in fact a positive for national parks (always in sustainable proportions) as I now read park staff must ‘thin’ forests so overabundance saplings can make way for stronger trees. I now realise that SUSTAINABLE logging can be a NPWS cost effective control. Maybe we should reintroduce this to KNP? But that is outside the scope of this review.Damage is damage yes, but again, it is the proportion of damage that matters. What some may view as damage may be to evolution a new niche to benefit from. We humans are great at assuming we know what is best for nature. Again I return to the concept of balance and sustainable solutions. Regards, Bio Brumby
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skifree about 3 years ago
Pretty much every planned (and some un-planned) to be sustainable process to extract from national parks I have come across has resulted in bodies external making a profit (as is fair) but at the expense of the park, those who have to manage it and ultimately the public who own the park. There is consistently a mess to clean up or put up with (either too hard to clean up or no resources to effect clean up). So I am very, very cautious of any new efforts along these lines.Maintaining feral animals in national parks falls into the same basket. Many years ago graziers used the lands which became the Park. They were not very good at fencing or hobbling or something and their horses escaped. And they were not very good at re-capturing the escapees and here we are 100 plus years later still having to deal with the fall out of these failures to maintain their animals.
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Bio-Brumby about 3 years ago
Hi Skifree,I can understand your concerns, however I would hope second time around we could better manage earlier problems, should such concepts ever be considered again. Thanks for the discussion, Regards Bio-Brumby
Khankhan about 3 years ago
Glad you have picked up on the claims by the pro-horse groups on the necessity to have 'sustainable feral animal (horses) populations' in KNP. Bio-Brumby repeatedly raises the need for sustainable feral horse numbers, and never once has mentioned the need for sustainable native animals. They, plus the flora, just become lost in the myth and lost from the physical form too. I would ask them, but know I'd get some defensive argument that has no application to Kosci.
Zelig about 3 years ago
Doing nothing is simply not an option. There is no need for further research, the damage is evident and significant. Horses have no place in the Park. It is not an open range zoo for exotic animals. Horses need to be removed as expeditiously as possible. This would be a terrific investment in both the natural features protected by the Park and its sustainable enjoyment by the public.
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coastwatcher about 3 years ago
I agree, doing nothing is not an option. I continue to be amazed by the fact that what is essential a local issue is being postulated as being so important that it overrides the obligations of the State of NSW and Commonwealth's - State and National obligations to protect what is the iconic National Park in Australia. Get real people.
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Themba about 3 years ago
I find it quite interesting that both Zelig and Coastwatcher have highlighted the enjoyment of the park by the public and yet appear to ignore that fact that part of that public want to see the horses remain the park in sustainable numbers. The park is there for ALL people to enjoy, not just the people who don't want to see horses.
Themba about 3 years ago
Doing nothing would demonstrate what impact the horses have on the environment and just what the reproduction rate is. If this was done for a set period of say 5 years it could possibly be a way for parks to see what affect the horses have on the park, negative or positive. While the "do nothing" was being conducted, interested people could conduct un-biased studies on the way the horses interact with the park and other animals. Having said this, I can't see parks ever doing it...
Leisa about 3 years ago
Nothing was done for over 2 decades regarding wild horses. NPWS stated in their Plan of Management that the horses had neglible impacts. There was a drought for some of the time and then of course the 2003 fires wiped out 50 % of the horses. It will happen again.
Donna about 3 years ago
If 'doing nothing' means continuing with the current trapping program as is, without attempting improvements or stronger coordination with re homing groups, then I would think this question is moot - we already know the outcome, we're living with it and discussing it today. The only benefit I can think of would be the opportunity to conduct real research on the situation 'as is', which would give us a much better understanding of the horses place in the park, their true impacts and any unknown benefits. On the other hand, if the question literally means do nothing whatsoever, the same opportunities arise - albeit with other implications. No action at all, for at the very least a specific period, would ascertain without question the true breeding patterns of the various groups, the potential population growth rate and most importantly with the aid of targeted research, actual impacts or benefits. Of course though, we know this will never be a REAL option, because NPWS are legally obligated to control threats.
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Perplexed about 3 years ago
Doing nothing is always an option that I imagine different managers would make every day. I am however glad to see that there is acknowledgment that there are legal obligations and recognition of threats. For me however to do nothing is to be abandoning our as a society obligations to try to protect native species and ecosystems that are found nowhere else in the world.