What is more important to consider- the estimated population of wild horses or the impact of wild horses on the National Park? or both?

by Catherine Russell, over 3 years ago
Thank you for your contribution to this discussion. You can still view the material and the discussion. While this discussion is closed, new discussions will continue to open until 30 November 2014.

A summary of the 2014 aerial survey results as they relate to Kosciuszko National Park is now available. 

NPWS draws together a range of evidence and seeks independent advice from animal welfare experts, wildlife ecologists, animal behavioural scientists and experienced horse handlers to develop and review the wild horse management plan. Dr Michelle Dawson, using scientific methods applied to species throughout the world, has studied the wild horses in the Snowy Mountains for over ten years.

  • Brumbies are our Heritage about 4 years ago
    It is my belief that total removal of brumbies from KNP would be akin to genocide. How many of the supporters of removing the brumbies from there have seen first hand what happens to them at the Knackery, their treatment is inhumane.I have a more balanced view of what should happen with horse management. Numbers need to be controlled through the total park, not necessarily reducing numbers, and where there are areas of environmental importance exclusion zones should be instigated. The numbers cycle up and down as dictated by Mother Nature. I strongly support keeping them in the KNP. I have not seen a balanced report reporting on the impacts of all types of damage done in the KNP by all types of animals. We all know that other animals cause damage, what are the facts by animal type and percentage impact.I am a brumby lover and we own 6 re-homed brumbies, they are the most beautiful calm animals you could own. I challenge any environmental supporter to look one of these beautiful horses in the eye and shoot them. I would like to see the KNP working more closely with the re-homing groups and the environmental people to come up with the correct solution. Let's not lose sight of the fact that killing 7000 to 10000 brumbies would be akin to genocide. How can people love a plant more than an animal, how do you reconcile that in your mind and your heart.In the Barmah NP there are 140 brumbies in about 70000 acres and they are tying to eliminate them all. That park is a perfect example of how the system self manages itself, albeit there are people going in there and illegally trapping brumbies, and worse still, shooting them! Totally gutless people to shoot them!!
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    • peter_mcc about 4 years ago
      I'm intrigued - how can you say "numbers need to be controlled" but then "not necessarily reducing numbers"? That doesn't sound like much control to me!As for "how can people love a plant more than an animal" - easy. Sure, the horses have the cute factor going for them and the fact that there is a large "horse lover" community out there. But would you say the same for wild pigs? I don't see many people fighting for their right to remain in the park. Or deer or rabbits or wild dogs. I'm guessing your "how can people love a plant more than an animal" is really much more specific - "how can people love a plant more than a horse". If you take the view that they are an introduced feral pest then eliminating them (or as close as possible to that) is the logical solution - no matter how cute they are.As for rehoming them - the current trapping program hasn't kept up with population growth and there isn't enough demand for all the trapped horses so some of them get sent off to the knackery anyway.
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      • Brumbies are our Heritage about 4 years ago
        Peter_mcc,To put my position in a clearer perspective I live on 331 acres near Swan Hill. Our place isn't farmed, it is Land for Wildlife accredited, we have 6 re-homed brumbies (4 from KNP), 2 pet sheep and a cat. All live in harmony here. The footprint from 6 Brumbies is minimal. Our most serious damage is from feral pigs, but we don't shoot them, we have a mob of about 40 kangaroos that come in and out of our property to escape shooters. We have rabbits but not in plague proportions, so we don't try and control them. Not sure if you have seen the hideous death animals suffer from when poisoned by 1080. We have just lost our dog due to indiscriminate fox baiting by people who just want to eliminate problems at any cost.So...if our microcosm can be sustained on our property, you can extrapolate that out to KNP. There is a place for all to live in harmony. What is wrong with setting up exclusion zones in the sensitive areas to protect the environmentally sensitive areas? Your approach sounds like the Daleks from Dr Who - EXTERMINATE, EXTERMINATE!!! The natural control of the brumbies tends to be cyclic based on Mother Nature with respect to fire and drought, et al. Also the counting process that NP's use is inherently flawed in how it arrives at a brumby count, too many assumptions. I have no faith in the estimated numbers from NP's, there is a vested interest in over stating the numbers.Your comment about horses being "cute" is childish. All living things should be cherished, even you LOL!
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        • peter_mcc about 4 years ago
          I don't doubt that on your place near Swan Hill that you can happily have 6 horses without great damage. However the environment at Swan Hill is very different to KNP - you are at an altitude of about 70m vs quite a lot higher in KNP. I'm guessing it doesn't snow very often at Swan Hill. And the general environment isn't as sensitive. I'm sure there is a place for horses to roam free - I am also sure that KNP isn't it. If we did the maths to extrapolate what is ok for your place at Swan Hill we would end up with 30,000 horses causing minimal damage in KNP. The latest horse count figures say there are around 6000 in the park - 1/5 of that - and yet they are causing visible damage.I understand that you don't kill your feral pigs however in other areas they are a large problem. Whilst you think the "cute" comment is childish I think it is fair - pigs and other feral animals are regularly culled via aerial shooting and nobody makes a fuss.
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          • horseplay about 4 years ago
            Having spent my 70 years on NSW & Vic sides of the Snowy it would seem we have a network of "Pamphlet Professors" quoting here. The high country flourished under Brumby feet as did the bio-diversity, the environment with frogs living in the brumby and cattle pug holes with the river and creek edges held together by well rooted lush vegetation, it was a picture in the 1950's then was introduced the professors who produced pamphlet gleaned from who knows where,but historic source of information or consultancy with the high country cattlemen who handed this land in pristine condition back to the government, and what a mess they have made of the Snowy. It is amazing how decades upon decades before National Parks the Brumby roamed and was part of the environment where, the flowers bloomed, the spagnum bogs echoed with frogs, wildlife was abundant and now it seems the brumbies in the care of National Parks have developed destructive traits not found when farmers managed the Snowy, and I cannot find that trait in any of the Brumbies friends and family have today. What does this say are we being deceived or is there a hidden agenda, but historic facts sure destroy the Pamphlet Professors we read here.
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            • peter_mcc about 4 years ago
              Could you elaborate more on how NPWS has made a mess of the land? What actions of theirs do you attribute to the damage that we are now seeing? Should they have been removing more horses? less horses?
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              • Bio-Brumby about 4 years ago
                Hi Peter_mcc, For a start, it was NPWS programs that introduced the weeds that the Park now have when they were trying to strengthen the stream banks with a fast growing, non-indigenous plants about half a century ago. It was not horses that introduced non-indigenous plants, but NPWS staff. It would not happen now as our understanding of the risks of non-indigenous introductions is better understood, but it is one example of NPWS past mistakes. It has nothing to do with more horses? Less horses? We must move forward now to better plan for the overall benefit of the Park inhabitants and the Australian public. regards, Bio-Brumby
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                • peter_mcc about 4 years ago
                  Bio-Brumby - do you have any more specifics on what weeds NPWS introduced?Admin - can you comment on past NPWS programs that introduced weeds that the KNP now has?
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                  • Bio-Brumby about 4 years ago
                    Hi Peter_mcc, I can't remember the weed names, but they were fast growing ones planted on stream banks to firm up the bank sides, according to what a NPWS staff member told me.Admin, can you provide the names? Or should I do a separate question on the question page?Regards, Bio-Brumby
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                    • Admin Commented Jenny.Bhatai about 4 years ago
                      Hi Bio-Brumby & Peter_mcc, in the 50s and 60s Scotch or Spanish Broom, Lupins, willows and other exotic trees were introduced during the building of the Snowy Scheme. While NPWS was not involved in introducing these weeds, a major restoration program treating and removing these species is in place.
            • ProtectParks about 4 years ago
              The Soil Conservation Service of NSW had a big job repairing the shocking damage to the high country from grazing. The CSIRO was involved in the research and work. The statement that high country cattleman "handed this land in pristine condition back to the government" ignores history, science and any reputable understanding of the ecology of Snowy Mountains.
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              • horseplay about 4 years ago
                CSIRO scientist and farmer Noeline Franklin announces very different findings to your unsubstantiated "Shocking Damage to the high country from grazing" to maintain the status-quo green agenda. This is the link - ( http://snowybrumby.com/2014/09/09/brumby-factual-count-dismisses-greenies-fiction/ ). Being resident of the Snowy for 70 years you display all the traits of a Pamphlet Professor, quoting from prepared literature perfectly. To become informed of the Snowy Mountains 28 years ago when cattle were grazing alongside brumbies on the snowy 28 years ago during the infant days of National Parks management before it became an empire, view the Australian video movie "Cool Change" ( obtained here - http://www.amazon.com/Cool-Change-VHS-Jon-Blake/dp/6302933072/ref=sr_1_1/179-4412945-4997540?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1410490323&sr=1-1&keywords=Cool+Change ) made in 1986 showing the pristine condition I mentioned, the river banks firmed by vegetation, the Brumby runs, the abundance of wildlife, birds, and the flora, etc.Now take yourself to the Snowy National Parks, Vic or NSW side, look around, compare the video record of lush landscape now disappeared, the abundant wildlife mostly removed being eaten by protected dingo packs, how many birds can you see, note the beautiful flora struggling to grow in the choking unpenetratable underscore and scrub sapping all the moister, other areas are jungles of suckling trees hosting canopy shadow blankets removing direct sunlight required to exist, the green feed for Kangaroos all but gone, now feed on farms taking food from the livestock.You will then see what I have grown up with in my 70 years living on the Snowy, as I watch the myth-management continue supported by the truly misinformed.Come back please, report your findings, I feel sure others will view the video, take the trip finding the glossy pamphlets being designed to agenda by the professors are not the current real Snowy Mountains, and do take a camera for unless there is a change of management policy yesterday, these will be the best pictures you and your families future generations will have recorded of your Snowy Mountains.
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                • ProtectParks about 4 years ago
                  I will try and work through your response 1. Unsubstantiated "Shocking Damage to the high country from grazing" Noelene Franklin is hardly an unbiased scientific observer and the writings I have seen by her are not scientific reports but rather, political pieces which slam anything that doesn't agree with a pre-determined point of view. She is from a long time grazing family and obviously has an axe to grind when it comes to this issue. You can find hundreds of scientific reports,newspaper reports and photographs from the 1940s, 50s and 60s that show the same thing; grazing was causing serious damage to the high country. Calling people names and getting your nose out of joint because the facts don't line up with your view is hardly the basis for rational discussion and decision making. Have a look at the original documents and newspapers e.g.The Land, Friday 7 May 1954. Are you really convinced that, even back in 1954, a cabal of environmentalists had taken control of "The Land"?2. Cool ChangeGrazing had been excluded from the high country for quite a long time when that movie was made and that would certainly have contributed to less damage. The many exhaustive scientific studies on grazing impacts are a better source of information on the environment than a movie.3. Comparing the movie with nowWhen was the last time you walked anywhere in the high country in NSW and Victoria? You paint a pretty bleak picture which is not consistent with my observations over 30 years. There are changes and climate change is certainly having an effect (let me guess, you don't believe in climate change or global warming?) I would ask the question though, if having a National Park is so detrimental to the landscape why are millions of visitors, domestic and international, flocking to our Parks to enjoy our unique flora and fauna and stunning landscapes. You make it sound like they are going to be lucky to escape with their lives! I have walked extensively in KNP and continue to go there because of the natural values that are protected there; higher levels of biodiversity, better water quality, less land degradation. Problems like brumby damage are made worse because of political interference in Park management. I have friends who own rural properties and we enjoy bushwalking in National Parks all over Australia. None of them seem to share your view that what they are enjoying has been somehow damaged by being protected in a National Park.4. Your 70 years living on the SnowyI know people older than you that have worked on the Snowy who disagree with everything you say. They include some of Australia's most eminent scientists with international reputations. You can denigrate them by calling them names and sneering at their work but that says more about you than it does about their contribution. And to get back to the discussion question, wild horses are having a severe impact on some areas of KNP; they need to be removed.
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                  • horseplay about 4 years ago
                    With National Parks on 3 sides of my farm in NSW and 2 sides on the Victorian one and they have been in the family for 165 years, I bow to your experience and knowledge and thank you for expressing same for all to see...Thank you.PS/ I feel sure Noeline Franklin will express her thanks, after I locate her and forward your personal assassination of her and her family, what a proud moment it must be for you.
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                    • ProtectParks about 4 years ago
                      Anyone wanting to assess Noeline's impartiality should read her blog http://noelinefranklin.blogspot.com.au/She is no shrinking violet when it comes to getting her political opinion out there, but that is different from impartial, peer reviewed scientific studies on the question of impacts of grazing.Anyone reading her blog can make an assessment of her standing as an independent scientific voice.I note inaccuracies in your assessment that I have made some sort of personal assassination of her family. If you look above I have described her as coming from "a long time grazing family". Please explain!I respect your family history and your proximity to the issue but your assertion that the high country cattlemen "handed this land in pristine condition back to the government" is clearly inaccurate and biased.
                • peter_mcc about 4 years ago
                  horseplay - I've noticed you call people calling for horse reductions "pamphlet professors" more than once now. Whilst I agree you may hold whatever opinion you like, it seems to be rather rude to be calling them names. Themba has said above "There has been quite a bit of ridicule ... employed by those apposed to the wild horses" - I think your denigration of anyone opposed to your view far exceeds anything that I have seen posted lately by those opposed to the horses and the damage they create.
  • ProtectParks about 4 years ago
    I've noticed a tendency in social media that anonymous posting can result in more aggressive posts. People have been pretty good here and the admin moderation helps. It would be nice if people could really work hard at finding a win-win in this situation but it is not easy to see how that works. I have been saddened by the hard core vilification of some of Australia's best scientists by certain activists in other forums. It does no credit to their arguments to claim that outstanding research has been falsified simply because it doesn't fit their view. I think such aggressive, intimidatory tactics will backfire - time will tell.
  • Happy Jack about 4 years ago
    How much damage being done is a driver for reducing the brumby numbers. A count of how many horses there are currently is a tool in managing the reduction. Simplistically, reduce the horse numbers by x% and reduce the impact by y%. Then it is possible to calculate how much the horse numbers need to be reduced to achieve an acceptable level of impact on the park. In other words, count the horses, measure the impact, set a benchmark! Reduce the horses, measure the impact against time, recalculate and act to reduce more as necessary. Counting and measuring are the tools needed to manage horse numbers. They go hand in hand.The numbers calculated will also tell us if it is practical to trap and rehome the horses, or if the the numbers are just so high that a more aggressive approach will be needed (at least to initially get the numbers under control)
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    • Bush lover about 4 years ago
      Removed by moderator.
    • Bush lover about 4 years ago
      Oops, a typo produced a rude word the first time. Sorry. This is what I said, with typo corrected:Happy Jack, it would be wonderful if things were that simple. A survey is under way to identify the number of horses. As far as I am aware, no study is under way to identify the extent of the damage. And even if there was, how would it measure the impact? Is an area where there are no horses to count the same as an area with hundreds? Is piles of dung over an extensive area as serious as a small watercourse trampled into a bog? How can we count the small native animals that are no longer there?Maybe there is some protocol to handle this. Perhaps NPWS can advise us.
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      • Donna about 4 years ago
        How interesting Bush Lover! You make generalised claims on almost every question in this consultation, yet are apparently unaware of the extent of the alleged damage?! You respond to others with requests for their supporting evidence, yet have none yourself? Surely if there is so much credible evidence of the massive damage the horses are causing in the park, you would be privy to it before representing yourself on this forum as someone with knowledge on the issue? You ask how the damage is identified, whether native animals have been lost due to the horses and I have to say that if there should have been one defining factor established prior to any mention of aerial culling or even increased removal, it should be the answer to those questions. How can there be claims of damage with little or no supporting evidence? How can the horses be targeted as the main perpetrators without impacts being evaluated, losses counted and effects measured??
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        • peter_mcc about 4 years ago
          What sort of proof would make you happy? It seems that people who don't love the horses see the damage as being caused by them while the horse lovers take a lot more convincing and keep pointing to the lack of "evidence". The pictures in another thread showing damage around Tin Mines Hut would seem to be evidence to me - the hoof marks weren't made by pigs :-)
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          • Donna about 4 years ago
            Definitive, scientific, unbiased evidence. Complied and provided by a completely independent, non Gov't entity. A few pictures of hoof prints does not make a solid case for aerial culling or eradication, not by a long shot (pun intended)!
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            • peter_mcc about 4 years ago
              I think there is enough evidence for eradication. They are an introduced past - in the same category as rabbits, pigs, goats & deer - which alone should be a good enough reason to remove them from the park. The evidence of damage is more than just a few pictures of hoof prints - even if they haven't been taken by an independent body. I know you've commented elsewhere that the damage might be done by cattle - I have never ever seen a feral cow around Dead Horse Gap but I've seen lots and lots of horses (and lots of damage). I've also seen deer - they are a pest as well but there didn't seem to be the same damage to stream banks as the horses.
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              • Donna about 4 years ago
                Thankfully for the horses Peter_mcc, their fate does not rest on your personal opinion of the evidence. I have commented on several discussion points but am not entirely certain I've mentioned the impact of cattle, as like you I've never seen any wild, you may have me confused with another contributor perhaps. My assertion is that there are far too many variables in the equation not being taken into consideration in terms of impact, such as pigs who do wallow in waterways and streams, defecate in them, who burrow and dig and destroy immense areas quickly.
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                • Taleb about 4 years ago
                  The reality here is that we have a feral, introduced species running rampant through our National Parks largely unchecked, and if it were a less emotional species (like the rabbits who are being shot, poisoned) we would be doing a lot more to control the damage caused. The damage is evident, the solution, unfortunately, is too emotionally-charged for many to accept.
                • peter_mcc about 4 years ago
                  Sorry Donna, I think it's Themba who mentions cattle.Hopefully the people making the decision and the politicians responsible for making it happen will look a the evidence that does exist and not be swayed by a vocal minority. Part of that response will hopefully include eradication of the other feral animals like rabbits, pigs & deer.
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                  • Donna about 4 years ago
                    Thanks for the apology Peter, but I really wish you didn't follow it with the comment re "a vocal minority". Perhaps if the mismanagement of the horses were to be reported by mainstream media we'd find the minority not so minor; ignorance of the majority is no reason to assume only a small number are concerned for the future of the horses. For every person I meet who knows of their plight, I meet ten with no idea. Does this mean they don't care? Certainly not.
                • pepper about 4 years ago
                  How do we know the brumbies fate isnt in his hands.We dont know who he is behind his screen name now do we.
  • ProtectParks about 4 years ago
    THOSE WHO DON'T LEARN FROM HISTORY ARE DOOMED TO REPEAT ITI would encourage everyone to have a read of this document Report of the Royal Commission to Inquire into Forest Grazing : together with minutes of evidence 1946http://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/papers/govpub/VPARL1945-47No21.pdfIt is instructive to read the whole document but you can cut to the chase by looking at CHAPTER VIII. The Questions for lnquiry and Short Answers theretoQuestion 1.-Whether, and to what extent, grazing adversely affects vegetational and sylvicultural conditionsAnswer.-The effect of grazing in mountainous forest lands can be, and very frequently is, most harmful. The extent of its harmfulness cannot be precisely stated. It must be said that such extent is very great (vide Chapter III.). Question 2.-Whether, and to what extent, grazing accelerates soil erosion and reduces water catchment efficiency. Answer.-Grazing accelerates soil erosion. In some cases it is adversely affecting water catchment efficiency; in other cases it is constituting a highly probable cause of future reduction of such efficiency (vide Chapter IV.). I would make two comments in relation to this. Unregulated grazing by thousands of wild brumbies will have similar destructive effects to the grazing investigated by Justice Stretton. These impacts are as important to consider regardless of the size of the brumby population but we can safely assume that the greater the brumby numbers the greater the impacts.Secondly this document addresses the claims made by various commentators that grazing and brumbies did no damage to the high country. Justice Stretton was appointed to preside over 5 Royal Commissions. He was a learned and astute man who respected bush culture and played a critical role in advocating the widely adopted practice of controlled burning in his recommendations of the Royal Commission into the disastrous 1939 bushfires. To refute every scientific and administrative report of the past 80 years, including these Royal Commission findings, merely on the grounds that it contradicts your opinion that grazing is beneficial to the high country, is a ridiculous and uneducated position. Please read this document, there is wisdom in it. Stretton visited the country and talked to a range of people. He saw what was happening and made wise recommendations to protect our natural resources. I know a lot of people who work the land for a living and I respect their hard work and knowledge. I also respect their ability to cut through the crap to the truth. The scientifically established facts are that grazing, either of domesticated cattle or wild brumby populations, has harmful impacts on the high country. Population size and impacts are interrelated but accurately assessing the impacts is the most important variable to be considered in identify priorities for action.
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    • pepper about 4 years ago
      All I can say is after ready this forum I will need a hair transplant. I have never been so distressed about things I read until now.It really makes you think what things will be like in 20 years time.Its the brumbies in the spot light now what will it be next.Maybe target all the birds in the park because they carry weeds.All I can do is shake my head in disbelief.
  • ProtectParks about 4 years ago
    I have been walking, occasionally fishing, in the Snowy Mountains since 1981. I have walked from Victoria through the Cobberas, explored the Pilot Wilderness, traversed the Main Range, climbed Jagungal several times, camped at Blue Waterholes and trekked up to the Brindabellas. What an amazing landscape and how lucky are we that we have protected the environment in world class National Parks for everyone to enjoy. I have been shocked by the level of damage that feral horses have done to areas like Tin Mine and strongly believe that NPWS should do everything possible to remove them from these areas. If you really believe that horses don't cause damage try and get agistment for half a dozen on your local golf course. Our alpine flora and fauna has evolved over millions of years without the presence of hoofed animals and their future survival is threatened. The native flora and fauna of KNP is the natural heritage we should be protecting. There are plenty of other places in Australia, or the world for that matter, where you can see horses on private and public land.
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    • ProtectParks about 4 years ago
      And in answer to the question, the impact of the wild horses on KNP is the more important consideration but understanding and managing the problem will require a good knowledge of population dynamics.
    • pepper about 4 years ago
      Really professional well done. Not only are you able to put your 2 bobs worth in BUT you are in the position to delete comments you don't like. I will assume my comment will be deleted but who cares. In the long run parks will do what they want when they want. This public forum is just a feel fuzzy place where we can all comment and think our comments count.
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      • ProtectParks about 4 years ago
        I think you are confusing me with Admin? I can't delete anything.
      • nicole about 4 years ago
        Hi Pepper, ProtectParks is a general commenter, as you are. I can assure you that all comments are considered within the context of the conversation, and only those which blatantly disregard the forum rules and etiquette will be deleted. I can confirm that to date this has only been done twice, as a result of offensive language being used.
      • pepper about 4 years ago
        My comment was aimed at Admin not you
  • Bega Duncan about 4 years ago
    Yes the horse count figures are out. Are they true? Well lets see... The parks flew over in a helicopter to all the known areas that actually hold horses. They counted 305 clusters of horses. After my 40 years in the park I know for a fact the average mob is 6 horses throughout the park. This equates to 1830 horses that were sighted. I am still a little bit amazed that national parks didn't actually count the horses themselves. they took this 305 clusters of horses back to their office and multiplied the area that was flown which had 1830 horses in it by the remaining hectares in the park where there is no horse activity and came up with a figure of 4-8000 brumbies. The amount of money this survey cost the tax payer, you would think they would get it right, instead of having a 4000 brumby variance. The national parks then employed a lecturer from Canberra to analyse the brumby numbers, he then came up with the fact that the brumby population would double in 4.4 years. You work it out yourself because I can't. If you have 4000 horses 2000 would have to be male, and to double the numbers in 4.4 years they would have to increase approx 25% this means you would have to have 1000 horses increase per year. so that means you would have to have 1000 foals 1000 weanlings none of which are of breading age. So we are already at 4000 brumbies without taking into account any of the breeding females or natural atrician. This is where I will leave I will leave it for someone a lot smarter than me to work out how this population will double in 4.4 years. All I think everybody wants is the truth from the national parks about the brumbies, not trumped up figures, propaganda I am not completely naive, I know the horses have an impact on the high country but this impact is relatively low.
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    • peter_mcc about 4 years ago
      It seems that the method they used ("distance sampling") is a well recognised, internationally accepted method of estimating things like animals populations. I'm interested to know how you think they should have done it to make it more accurate for the same cost. The population growth estimates were done based on the difference in the counts between 2009 and 2014. I tried to do the maths but it's too late and my head hurt - perhaps I'll give it a go another time.
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      • Bio-Brumby about 4 years ago
        Hi Peter_mcc, I cannot comment on the count accuracy, but in terms of increase, I agree that the populations would be around 50% male/female, and that on average one mare produces a foal every second year, and that a percentage of foals die before adulthood. Also don’t forget the approximate 10% death rate of adult Brumbies. However the discussion topic is numbers vs damage. I suggest that - only where damage from an introduced species, including humans, is beyond the recovery rate of the landscape (not sure of the correct terminology) that the populations numbers should be reduced to a level that does not cause irreversible damage. A point I think you made earlier. Reduce numbers and check damage recovery ability. Regards, Bio-Brumby
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        • peter_mcc about 4 years ago
          (removed - realised I was replying to the wrong comment)
  • Themba about 4 years ago
    The question here really is, what is the impact of wild horses on the national park. If that was important then the question of how many wild horses there are would not even be a question.What really needs to be questioned is, what benefits do the wild horses provide to the national park. There are many wild animals in the park including wild cattle, pigs, goats and deer. Cattle tracks and dung look very much like horse tracks and dung, unless you know there difference between the two It could easily lead people to assume that horse have done damage when in fact they haven't. Our cattle make a real mess of the river banks but the horses tend to use a different place each time to drink and so do less damage. The cattle tracks in the mud can easily be mistaken for horse tracks.
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    • Bush lover about 4 years ago
      I agree with your first statement Themba. The impact is the important thing.However, your second is not really logical. You suggest that feral horses may provide benefits to the national park. You then go on to describe damage done by other feral animals, without really identifying what benefits the horses provide.Unless you mean "less damage than cattle". This is rather like being half dead as opposed to dead.The issue is not the amount of damage an individual animal causes, but the damage caused by the total number of each animal, and feral cattle have never been identified as a problem in this park as far as I am aware.
    • peter_mcc about 4 years ago
      I'm not sure what benefit the horses provide - as a non-horse lover perhaps they are "nice" to look at. But I look at the impact and it seems clear that any benefit is way less than the environmental damage.I've seen feral deer but not pigs or goats. Nor have I ever seen a feral cow - but I have seen lots of horses in the area around Dead Horse Gap where there is lots of damage. To claim that the horse/cattle damage has been done by cattle when I have never seen a cow would seem to be a bit hard to believe.
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      • Themba about 4 years ago
        I'm using cattle as an example of what could also be making the tracks being contributed to the wild horses. There are plenty of pictures around supposedly showing the damage done by the horses but I am yet to actually see a horse standing in the tracks! Wet areas have a propensity to swell out and blur tracks which makes it very hard to tell exactly what animal has made the tracks. Feral pigs tend to move at night so it would be unlikely that you would see them during the day. Deer and goats are very wary of people due to hunting so you would be unlikely to see as many of them either. The cattle are left over from when grazing was allowed in the park as they were free running and not all of them were recovered. I am not suggesting there are huge amounts of cattle in the park only that we need to look at this subjectively and not get carried away by blaming the horses for everything that is wrong with the park.My reference to the possible benefits the wild horses could be providing is because it is something I believe needs to be looked at. They have been in the park for well over 100 years so it would be a huge mistake to remove them all before we know what possible benefits there are to them being there and so we can make sure removing them doesn't just cause a whole lot of new issues.
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        • nicole about 4 years ago
          Hi Themba, I'd encourage you to add this issue (possible benefits of wild horses) to the forum about topics you might like to see addressed on this site. https://engage.environment.nsw.gov.au/protectsnowies/forum_topics/how-are-you-going-to-get-involved-in-the-public-consultation-for-the-wild-horse-management-review-missing-content
        • peter_mcc about 4 years ago
          If someone produced a photo of a horse standing on a track or in the middle of a damaged area would that be enough? I'm guessing from reading lots of the responses here that it wouldn't - that at this point a horse lover would say that just because the horse was standing on the track it didn't mean that it had caused all the damage.
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          • Themba about 4 years ago
            If I produced a photo of one of our paddocks turned over by wild pigs and included one of our horses in the photo and told you the horse had done all that damage, would you believe me without question? People are right to question what they are being told and not just blindly believe it because someone says it's true!
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            • peter_mcc about 4 years ago
              Correct - I probably wouldn't believe you. I made my comment because you said "There are plenty of pictures around supposedly showing the damage done by the horses but I am yet to actually see a horse standing in the tracks!" which, to me, seemed like you wanted a photo of a horse standing in some damage.Please correct me if I'm wrong but don't pigs and horses produce different damage? I don't recall seeing anyone say that the horses "turn over" the ground like pigs - the more obvious horse damage includes trampling bogs & stream edges and leaving huge piles of poop (most obvious on fire & walking trails). Part of the difference between deer and horses should be evident by the hoof size (but I don't think anyone is saying the deer should stay - I definitely think they should go along with the pigs/rabbits/dogs)
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              • Themba about 4 years ago
                The point I was trying to make is that there is alot of pictures supposedly showing damage by horses but no actual evidence that horses have caused the damage. It wouldn't make any difference if there was a horse standing in the picture simply for the reason I have shown above, as in just because I'm telling you a horse caused the damage doesn't make it true! I was very interested in just how many people are prepared to believe the pictures are from horse damage without any actual evidence. It appears to me from these discussion that the people who want the horses gone are only seeing what they want to see!The damage made from pigs does actually look the same as the damage being attributed to horses. Perhaps if I had used the usual term of "churned up" if would have made more sense to you, I apologies for my terminology. I'm not surprised that you have seen piles of horse manure on fire and walking trails as the horses would be using the same trails. Herbivores will wander to graze but if they want to move from point A to point B they will follow an existing trail as it is the way of least resistance. They won't make a new trail if there is a trial already there. Ever had to walk around huge piles of Wombat "poop", I can't believe how much manure comes out of a Wombat! I'm sure you would have come across plenty of that in the park as well.As to the hoof size in bogs and stream edges, I'm sure that you would have noticed the fact that mud and boggy ground has a propensity to expand and blur prints so it's very hard to tell what animal has made the tracks other than that they are roundish.
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                • Themba about 4 years ago
                  My apologies also for the poor spelling, long day!
    • ProtectParks about 4 years ago
      I've seen horses making a mess at Tin Mine. They were a short distance away from the hut.
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      • Themba about 4 years ago
        Are you able to expand on this please ProtectParks? As in, how many horses did you see? What "mess" were they making? How long did you observe them for? Did they appear to be looking for food handouts? etc...
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        • ProtectParks about 4 years ago
          There was a mob of horses in the vicinity of Tin Mine Hunt when we camped there in January 2007. Two of them came nearer to the hut. One mare and a foal. The mare had what looked like the remains of a rope around her neck. The other horses were a bit shyer but those two were grazing around the creek and causing the sort of mess that hoofed animals do in wet areas. We saw lots of hoof marks and bank erosion here and also on creek crossings on the Cowombat Fire Trail to the west of Tin Mine Hut. In January 2006 in the Cobberas we saw several mobs of brumbies. Looking north from our campsite near Moscow Peak you could see brumbies grazing in the wetlands below and on closer inspection, considerable damage with deep holes punched in the sphagnum by horses hooves.
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          • Themba about 4 years ago
            Thanks, it's interesting to hear the experiences that people have had in the park.
  • ProtectParks about 4 years ago
    A comment on heritageBrumbies hail from far distant lands and came to Australia with Europeans. In the billion year plus history of our continent, they are a very recent blip in time. The kangaroo is certainly part of our heritage, it is endemic to this continent and has evolved here over many millions of years. Most of the people commenting here on the importance of protecting heritage would have no problem shooting roos that stray into their paddock or running cattle over the rare natural heritage that is our native alpine vegetation.There are also a range of readily accessible heritage items available to members of the public. Dozens of reports and thousands of photos that clearly highlight the damage that grazing did to the high country. I invite visitors to this forum to check out this heritage film, which clearly documents the erosion problems. http://aso.gov.au/titles/sponsored-films/snowy-hydro-conservation-snowy/clip2/This heritage, the historical record of land degradation by hoofed grazing animals and inappropriate land management, cannot be erased by people just saying everything was hunky dory when we had cows and brumbies up there - that is simply not true.Maintaining large numbers of grazing brumbies is causing land degradation. The brumbies need to be removed to protect our natural heritage and catchment values.
  • Brumbies are our Heritage about 4 years ago
    For people's consideration I have copied this information from the Animals Australia website:(and just for the record I personally don't class Brumbies as feral or wild)"Feral Animals"It is so often forgotten that this group of much maligned animals has the same capacity to suffer as any other animal in Australia.Introduced/non-native animals are regularly the subject of bad publicity for the perceived damage that they cause. They are often described as “feral”, “pest”, “noxious”, “vermin” or “invasive”. These words unfairly devalue the animals, implying that they are less deserving of compassion and consideration than other animals, even other animals of the same species.Importantly, public comment connected to these species inevitably fails to acknowledge the obvious—that we are responsible for these animals living in an environment that is not natural to their species. Science tells us that wherever there is an effect, there is a cause. We brought them here, therefore we remain responsible for their welfare. There are now species in Australia that have survived in the wild for a number of generations and have now established stable or expanding populations. Some species were initially introduced as wild species (whether intentionally or accidentally) such as rabbits, foxes, cane toads, rats and mice, but others are domesticated animals which escaped or were abandoned such as cats, dogs, pigs, goats, horses, donkeys, camels, buffalo and carp.We are lead to believe that some (if not all) of these animals are having a severe impact on the Australian environment—yet there is very little research, and virtually no data supporting this assumption.Despite the lack of evidence, a variety of methods that often inflict severe and prolonged suffering, such as traps, poisons, gassing, intentional infection with disease and shooting, are used to kill these animals and reduce their populations. What is rarely publicised is how unsuccessful, even futile, these attempts have been.Where there is a proven case of severe damage due to an overpopulation of introduced animals, Animals Australia advocates humane, non-lethal methods of population control such as fertility control which has the potential to be far more effective in reducing populations of introduced species. However, currently governments are unwilling to prioritise fertility control research on the basis of cost, and land managers generally require the ‘quick fix’ lethal methods rather than longer term and ongoing sound management techniques.Once again—because the suffering of animals caught in traps, or dying from ‘1080’ poison is out of view of the general community—cruel attempts to kill animals by such inhumane means continue.Words such as 'feral' or 'pest' do not reduce the capacity of these animals to suffer horrendous deaths, or reduce our responsibility to apply the same consideration to these species and therefore to find humane solutions.Compassion is missing from most commentary here - a life has no value to some. I feel sorry for those of you who condone shooting or poisoning of the brumbies. This will be my last comment because I can't deal any more with the narrow minded green machine
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    • HVBA Vice President about 4 years ago
      Well said, but please don't let this be your last comment, those of us striving for the protection of the Brumbies need more people like you on here fighting for them too. As hard as it is, as much ridicule and personal attacks that are thrown at us, if we won't stand up for the humane treatment of these animals no one will, and we all know what will happen then!
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      • Themba about 4 years ago
        I agree with HVBA Vic President.Please continue to contribute your views to the forums. There has been quite a bit of ridicule and bullying tactics employed by those apposed to the wild horses, particularly when the forums were first opened. At least one of these people, I suspect, was hoping to gain the contract to conduct the aerial killing and so make money out of the horses. Inhumane treatment should never be condoned not matter what the animal is. You have every right to contribute to these forums, as do those apposing the horses, and I hope you will continue.
  • Col M about 4 years ago
    Total removal of brumbies from KNP is probably not possible, but control measures are needed.I have spent time in the park with horse riders and bushwalking and was startled at the impact and more startled by the misinformed attitudes of the horse lovers I was in the company of and those I have discussed the issue with since.During two weeks (Feb-Mar 2012) in the Long Plain/Blue Waterholes area of the park with a large trail riding group, the number of brumbies observed was in the hundreds and many appeared inbred. The attitude of the horse fraternity toward NPWS staff was a classic THEM V US battle with lots of cries that "this is our heritage" and "brumbies have always been here". When reminded that brumbies had been in the area for a relatively short time, I became one of THEM.Horse damage to the headwaters of the Murrumbidgee, the creeks, areas around Tantangara Reservoir and the Blue Waterholes was evident at all times.My partner and I came away from this trip adamant that we never wished to ride in another Nat. Park and that they are not the place for horse riding.We became aware that many horse riders disregarded the guidelines around horse feeds and the possible introduction of weeds, disregarded some no go areas for riding, quoting "well, what damage can it do, the brumbies are in there anyway" etc.In April 2014 with six fellow bushwalkers, we walked from the Barry Way, where the Ingeegoodbee River meets the Snowy for six days, firstly off track to the Black Allen Line, then to the source of the river Murray, and from there north through the Pilot Wilderness to Thredbo. During these six days of walking cross country we were amazed to never be out of sight of evidence brumbies impact. we also saw evidence of wild pigs rutting in a number of places.Reading the comments in visitors books in a number of huts I was dismayed at the comments by pro brumby people, such as "here with NPWS staff, being driven around to look at SO CALLED BRUMBY DAMAGE, no damage seen", to this I would say "get out of the 4wd and walk the alpine wetlands, take off the rose coloured glasses and take an objective look at the hoof marks across the sphagnum bogs, the manure the dead horse remains in the headwaters of creeks and rivers. The impact is irrefutable.An attempt to significantly reduce brumby numbers and all other feral animals is imperative, the humane treatment of those animals is as important as it is with all animals. Re-homing is admirable but where not possible, professional culling or the knackery is a necessary evil. To those horse lovers who get sentimental about culling, do some research into where knackeries get there horses and start protesting the thoroughbred industry as well.I believe National parks are for the preservation of the natural environment and while Eradication of brumbies in KNP is probably impossible due to cost and difficult terrain significant reduction in numbers necessary. It won't be genocide if people keep adopting brumbies.I love horses, I am passionate about Australia's bush heritage, but I am more passionate about the Australian Bush and our natural environment. Natural places in Australia are dwindling, Australia's remaining bush is under threat from all angles.The best way to appreciate the bush is on foot (from horse back is also a wonderful way, in appropriate areas), quietly enjoying the beauty of nature.Some areas need to be protected as wilderness, KNP is one and BRUMBIES are damaging KNP.
  • horseplay about 4 years ago
    Having spent my 70 years on NSW & Vic sides of the Snowy it would seem we have a network of "Pamphlet Professors" quoting here. The high country flourished under Brumby feet as did the bio-diversity, the environment with frogs living in the brumby and cattle pug holes with the river and creek edges held together by well rooted lush vegetation, it was a picture in the 1950's then was introduced the professors who produced pamphlet gleaned from who knows where,but historic source of information or consultancy with the high country cattlemen who handed this land in pristine condition back to the government, and what a mess they have made of the Snowy. It is amazing how decades upon decades before National Parks the Brumby roamed and was part of the environment where, the flowers bloomed, the spagnum bogs echoed with frogs, wildlife was abundant and now it seems the brumbies in the care of National Parks have developed destructive traits not found when farmers managed the Snowy, and I cannot find that trait in any of the Brumbies friends and family have today. What does this say are we being deceived or is there a hidden agenda, but historic facts sure destroy the Pamphlet Professors we read here.
  • Mal about 4 years ago
    Really everyone commenting here would do well to spend some time in the snowies you'll soon find out that Horses have done lots of damage in some areas like Currango plains and surprising lil apparent damage in lots of other areas I would much rather reduce the numbers of the real destroyers in the park four wheel drivers take care everyone and keep those comments constructive
  • peter_mcc about 4 years ago
    Looks like the 2014 horse count figures are out - see link at the top. 6000 odd horses in KNP - a number that has increased despite the trapping of 2000+ horses since the last count.No wonder there is more damage - trapping just isn't working to keep the horse population under control and as the horse numbers increase so does the damage.In answer to the topic question I think the answer has to be both - because they are linked. More horses means more damage - if there was only 1 or 2 then the damage done would be minimal. If the numbers keep increasing then so will the damage.
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    • Brumbies are our Heritage about 4 years ago
      Read the report again, here is an extract for you to ponder:· In statistical terms, there is a 95% chance that the true population of wild horses is between 4,000 and 8,000 in Kosciuszko National Park.The good thing about stats is that they are quite funny - a 95% chance of being 100% out! LOL!!!!!
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      • peter_mcc about 4 years ago
        I'm not sure I read the stats the same way you do... 4000 & 8000 are only 33% off the best estimate of 6000. And they are 95% sure it is within those limits.
  • laura about 4 years ago
    Every animal leaves some remnants, wombats dig up earth and can destroy habitats just as horses can. but wild horses are migratory, they may cause slight change to soft ground around water sources but they will soon move on to find better feed and move up or down in altitude depending on season giving the environment plenty of time to regenerate. i have worked with horses my whole life and i start and train horses for a living, they are extremity intelligent animals, wild horses are dependent on intricate family groups comprised of a mature male, several mature females and there young offspring, watching the silent language between the group (and its interactions with other groups) is breathtaking, in fact there are countless horse training methods and philosophy based on wild horse. areal culling is extremity cruel, because of the terrain of the snowy mountains (very steep and high tree cover) it would be near impossible to get a clean shot, meaning wounded horses would suffer for days if not weeks in severe pain eventually dyeing of starvation, thirst or exposure. young foals would be left defenseless to freeze to death. those intricate complex family groups would be ripped apart. personally i don't think there is enough evidence to warrant extreme population culling but if there was then why not re-home them. brumbies can make awesome horses. contrary to popular belief brumbies are not inbreed. i stallion will not breed with his daughter and young horses are kicked out of there family group when they reach sexual maturity. natural selection plays a huge roll in keeping the breed strong and adapted to the conditions.brumbies have every right to be in the snowy mountains as snow goers do. i'm damn sure snow resorts cause a lot more damage to the natural environment then horses do but no ones complaining about that because parks NSW are making money out of it
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    • peter_mcc about 4 years ago
      I'm not so sure they are migratory - there is a group around Dead Horse Gap most of the time. They don't move very far - certainly they don't move away from the area long enough for it to recover from their damage (which happens very slowly).Rehoming them is a great idea however so far it has proved to be expensive and ineffective at controlling the numbers - despite the NPWS rehoming program the numbers are growing. And they can't find homes for all of them - some are still being sent off to the knackery.I'm also fairly sure that NPWS would love to see the snow resorts disappear - but that isn't going to happen. However the resorts occupy a fairly small area of a fairly large park - the group of horses around Dead Horse Gap is probably roaming over a larger area than the Thredbo resort.
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      • Brumbies are our Heritage about 4 years ago
        Peter_mccYou better be careful, you'll be excluded from NP's soon. Don't you know that NP's are only meant for the Rangers, not for the general public! They own the parks, not the citizens of Australia who pay their wages!
  • Bega Duncan about 4 years ago
    A few home truths about Brumbies and the environment. These brumbies have been in the high country for many years. Prior to that there was 1000s of cattle grazing in the high country, and it is only now after 100 years that a few conservationists have jumped on the band wagon with national parks to make a case that the existing brumbies are damaging the environment. The number of brumbies that national parks have stated in their last survey is completely flawed and the amount of brumbies that run in the national parks is nowhere near what they estimate. Conservationists should be more concerned with the amount of blackberries, wild pigs, and the lack of hazard reduction burning. If conservationists are so concerned with the welfare of the high country I have not seen 1 comment about the 2 million visitors that clamour all over the high country. Their treated effluent is pumped into local streams. All this is ok to them as it suits them. There was no comments made in the early days constructing all the ski fields where they had to use dynamite to blow up rocks and tree stumps to make way for the tourists. Some people have a funny idea about protecting the pristine wilderness.
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    • peter_mcc about 4 years ago
      Over time things change. It is no longer acceptable to do many things that were once possible - in the "good old days" they dumped Sydney's sewerage untreated into the ocean. Now they treat it (at least a bit). Surely a recognition of the impact we have on the environment is a good thing!Do you have any evidence that the horse count is inaccurate? I don't know either way but it seems that horse supporters are making this claim but without any evidence to back it up.I'm sure conservationalists are also concerned about wild pigs and blackberries - luckily for the park and unfortunately for the pigs nobody seems to have a problem with them being removed so their removal flies under the radar.
  • Dekenai about 4 years ago
    How to manage Wild horses; one example of many such program's around the world---except Australia. http://www.wild-horses-namibia.com/origin.htm
  • sarinalouise about 4 years ago
    Both are important and it seems there needs to be more research to be completed, more reliable reports and studies done as well. Any studies I have read have had a certain level of bias, for and against. Regardless, as we introduced them to the environment, it is our responsibility to manage them in a humane and compassionate manner.Humans do the most damage to the environment - yet we aren't calling to cull our own population.
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    • peter_mcc about 4 years ago
      From what I've seen, NPWS is trying to manage the impact humans have on the park. They have lots of info on how to practice minimal impact bushwalking and they greatly restrict what activities can be performed.
  • mistygal01 about 4 years ago
    The estimated - or indeed actual - number of brumbies in the Park and the impact of these horses are two factors that are conjoined so tightly that I do not believe they can be separated or ranked by importance. I distinguish estimated population versus actual population numbers because this is, I think, a very important distinction to make. It is, common sense indicated, very difficult to count animals over an area such as KNP, even larger animals like horses, with such a large area to cover with changing terrain often obscuring entire mobs, not to mention the possibility of mobs being double-counted, etc. So, when considering the issue of numbers in the Park, it is important to consider how accurate the 'estimates' actually are. Populations of any animal in any area will always fluctuate, influenced by natural factors - the bushfires mentioned in the video are a perfect example. Brumby numbers may be at high levels now, but they will drop again, and rise again, and drop again...As for the issue of the impact of the brumbies on the ecosystems of the Park, this, it seems to me, is equally hard to gauge accurately. Horses, by their very nature, are nomadic in the wild, never staying in one place for too long. Most of them live and move in relatively small mobs. The amount of damage they realistically do to any given area at any given time is, I believe, exaggerated by those ecologists and scientists who wish to see every single horse removed from the park by whatever means necessary, most commonly from what I have seen by shooting. Having had a great deal to do with both horses and National Park environments over my life, I have usually found that it takes more prolonged and intensive exposure of horses on an area to cause serious and long-lasting degradation purely based on the impact of the horses alone. By this I mean, a fenced off area where horses are consistently located over a period of time, which does not happen in a proper wild horse herd structure. In any other circumstance, the area recovers after a relatively short amount of time of any damage that might have been done. Far more damage is done by other factors or pests, such as wild pigs uprooting large expanses of ground in search of food, foxes and cats actively hunting our native small marsupials or human influences increasing the probability and scale of erosion etc. As the HVBA Vice President has already commented, ecosystems adapt and find a new equilibrium and it may well prove that if all brumbies were removed from the Park that the area would be adversely affected in ways that we cannot foresee. Surely, if the aim is to protect the Snowies, we should be looking at the larger picture - not just whether or not to get rid of the horses - that incorporates human factors, other pest animals, the changing climate and more. The benefits of a brumby as a riding horse are astounding. Once upon a time, the local stockmen and settlers would catch these horses to give to their children due to them being so safe and surefooted. There is a reason why they do not only survive but thrive in our Australian bushland, and that is that they have adapted perfectly to it. If you want a tough, surefooted, healthy animal who can survive in the extreme climate that our country often offers up, then a brumby is quite literally the perfect horse for you. Not only that, but these horses hold a precious part of our heritage and especially in the heritage of the Snowies and in the history of the high country as cattle-grazing land of the past. Just as the horses of Guy Fawkes NP have been officially recognised for their heritage as the Light Horses of our past, so too should the Kozi brumbies be recognised for the part they and their ancestors have played in our history. It is not, in my personal opinion, necessary to remove all horses from the Park. Any negative impact they may or may not have on the ecosystem could be reduced by MANAGING the population numbers, not eradicating them. In any case, removal of horses from the Park is never going to be conducive to complete eradication. Ground shooting probably the kinder of the two options involving a bullet as more care could be taken on the part of the shooter to ensure a clean and instant removal is made, but it is slow and not really logistically or economically viable as many horses may be in areas not accessible to the shooters. Aerial culling should never be considered as an option, as has been proven by this activity in other areas. Clean kills are simply not made, horses are left suffering of their wounds to die of starvation or infection days or weeks after the shot was made, foals are left orphaned to starve next to the dead bodies of their mothers. This is not only cruel, it is barbaric. These horses deserve better. We owe them better than this. Passive trapping is also slow and may often be tedious but is, out of the current options, by far the best method by which to manage numbers in the Park, in my opinion. It is not, when conducted properly, cruel, and suffering of the animals is severely reduced. When these horses are taken to rehoming charities or organisations, these horses go on to become loyal, hardy, mounts and companions, demonstrating their extremely versatile and willing nature as the horses that they are. Managing the brumby populations in ANY NP area requires the cooperation of both the NPWS and the community as without this teamwork no progress will ever be made. Parties on all sides tend to exaggerate the impact that brumbies have on the natural environment. It goes without saying that any animal will always have SOME impact on the area in which they live, but how great this impact is needs to be accurately and independently gauged with ALL factors taken into account before accusations are slung by some parties onto only one factor - in this case the brumbies. Perhaps, with this in mind, it may turn out that there are in fact other measures that may be taken to help reduce degradation in the Park that have little to do with brumby numbers at all. This last sentence is I grant largely conjecture on my part, but it highlights the importance I place on those who automatically blame the brumbies for so much to keep an open mind. I agree that brumby numbers need to be managed in the Park, especially in this time of population-boom, but I say MANAGED. It is not necessary to remove every single horse from the area. Smaller numbers may be harmless to the environment, perhaps even beneficial in ways that have not yet been made clear to us, while at the same time protecting and promoting their heritage as part of our nation's history. I personally know of many, many people who visit the Park specifically to see the brumbies, and return time and time again for this very same reason. Manage their numbers wisely and humanely, and rehome as many as possible to families and individuals who are keen and willing to give a home to these wonderfully hardy little creatures made out of our history. Stop thinking of them as a problem to be eradicated and turn them into an asset. There is, figuratively, an army's worth of people out there willing to help the Park manage the numbers by taking them on, giving them homes, promoting them and their bloodlines and heritage as a breed. Let us help you.
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    • peter_mcc about 4 years ago
      If, as you say, "Ground shooting ... is slow and not really logistically or economically viable" then how could trapping be any better? The current trapping/removal costs are very high per animal and the numbers removed quite small. Plus they can't even find homes for all the ones they currently trap - so while they may make great mounts and companions a significant number are still being sent off to the knackery at great expense.As for people out there willing to help manage the numbers - an ABC report quotes "Ken Connley" as saying he releases more into the wild. How is that helping?Realistically even if NPWS wanted to elimate every brumby from the face of the park it isn't going to happen - not over an area of that size. There will always be some left.
    • peter_mcc about 4 years ago
      Sorry, missed the first part when I wrote the last comment - you have put a lot into it!I have seen a few people saying that the horse counts are inaccurate. Do you have any suggestions on how they could be improved? Whilst there may be some double counting, as you say, I'm guessing there would also be a similar number who are missed.As for the horses not staying in the one place for long - there is a group of them around Dead Horse Gap who are always in that local area. Sure, they may roam over a few square kilometers but it seems not much further.
  • charmaine about 4 years ago
    I agree with what a previous person said in being unconvinced by just how much environmental damage is being done by horses alone.I live near national parks and am an avid bushwalker. I respect and thrive in the bush and absolutely agree that Wilderness should be protected. I also witness a lot of damage by moronic humans. Littering, dumping and polluting, creating their own paths for motorbikes and illegal hunting. I wish the answers were more clearer. I've also been a lifelong horse lover so i am aware that emotions can be strong. Brumbies deserve their place , somehow.
  • Peta about 4 years ago
    Agreed that both questions are tightly related and therefore cannot be separated. There is not much further evidence/data or comment I can make that isn't already re hashing all the former pro Brumby posts. This will always be a heated and passionate debate with each side believing they are right. I have attended Dr Dawson's lectures at Wollongong University and have followed the debate over the Wild Horse Management plans across Australia for the better part of six years. I am not an uninformed bleeding heart pleading for government to think of the welfare of animals without understanding the economic and environmental issues that the Wild Horse management plans needs to consider. I am well aware of the financial costs incurred to passively trap brumbies and the numbers of brumbies re-homed by welfare groups. (A job that would be made easier if the "feral" label was lifted and therefore assisting the general public to view these horses as the valuable riding horses they are). But that's another issue. After reading all the posts in this thread it seems strange that Bush Lovers comments are highly supported by Admin whilst any pro Brumby supporters comments are given a general and dismissive "thanks"? I appreciate and commend the current successful passive trapping program run by NPWS who have invested thousands of dollars and labour hours to make a serious attempt at managing the brumbies in a passive and humane manner. However, there is little regard for animal welfare if aerial culling is still a consideration. The RSPCA has not condoned aerial culling as humane and ask any rifleman how difficult it is to shoot a moving target from a moving platform. Even the best marksmen state it is never a clean shot. This means animals are subject to a less than quick death, but if the average 8 seconds till death quoted by a aerial rifleman is considered humane then I guess we should just accept that. Do I think numbers need to be managed? Absolutely. But using a quick fix to solve an issue that has been poorly managed for years is not the answer. Like all things, it takes time to do things right.
  • Cathe about 4 years ago
    The Brumbies have always been there they are a part of our history and there for should be protected for future generations.They were the tough little horses that went to war and fort along side our soldiers. But I think a lot of people have lost sight of that fact. There numbers go up and down as I think they have done for many years.Removal of some would probably benefit them in the long run as long as it is done the right way by the right people that know what they are doing.Not by going in and Airial Shooting them leaving them to die in pain or for foals to starve to death because there mothers have been shoot.I find this to be a disgusing thought that anyone can do this."Aussie's need to wake up before we have nothing left."
  • HVBA Vice President about 4 years ago
    Both, they go hand in hand. It does not matter if there is one horses, 1000 horses or 1 million, if they are causing no damage then there is no need to spend money and resources on them. If the damage is as bad as some claim (which I do not believe is true) then we must know the numbers so there is a target to work towards. It has been mentioned before, and for some reason is always scoffed at, but we also need to know what will happen if the horses are removed. How much does an ecosystem change in 200 years, when does an introduced species become important to the ecosystem it was introduced into and what would happen if it was removed. These are all important questions if your aim is to protect the snowies, not just destroy the horses. I think we can all agree that in this environment (where there are no physical barriers, fences etc) complete eradication is an unrealistic objective (and in my opinion and undesirable one). In this case, if we are talking about reducing numbers, we also need to know how many can be removed before a genetic bottleneck becomes an issue creating an even bigger problem for managers. I've seen claims that these are inbred horses, but as always no evidence that isn't anecdotal. I'll add my own anecdote in that all the YOUNG Brumbies I have worked with start out with scraggly winter coats, legs too long and heads to big for their bodies and then they grow, and they mature into such well conformed horses that show judge after show judge comment how beautiful they are, they also have a floating gait sort after by many a warmblood breeder. The older mares have sunken backs from carrying foal after foal, but a few years rest and they bounce back to near perfection, and there is nothing wrong with their intelligence, kozi mares learn quicker than any horse I've seen. As for the older stallions, you have never seen more beautiful, graceful and healthy horses in your life. All Kozi Brumbies I have met have temperaments that would put many a "bomb proof" pony to shame. Medical concerns are next to none, feet are pure perfection and even their teeth are amazing. These are not the qualities I would expect from a severely inbred animal. But as I have said, there is no evidence to prove me wrong or right, and if we start messing around with the numbers without knowing what we are doing, all this could change dramatically. A good evidence base on both the numbers and the impact is key to getting the new management plan right. Unfortunately there is not a lot of it out there.
  • cjmb about 4 years ago
    The key issue is that feral animals (and exotic plants) are altering the natural environment and its balance. There are no native hoofed animals in that park, so every horse, goat, pig or deer is doing damage. Counting the horses is a measure of the dynamics of one factor, but is not a direct measure of progress towards a goal of restoration. (And the 50-60-year old scars from the hydro-electicity works show us how long recovery may take).In addition, I worry that the processes of counting and 're-homing' romanticise these feral animals - like the "bambi" effect on deer populations - and get in the way of the goal of removal. it's easier to consider wild pigs, goats, and dogs as vermin to be eradicated than to apply that to ..."a touch of Timor pony - three parts thoroughbred at least - And such as are by mountain horsemen prized."
  • Lucinda about 4 years ago
    I have and attended many meetings ... To be ran around the same aims again and again. 3 years now been discussing petitioning and advocating a more honourable solution to no end ... We continue through groups to engage real discussion on real issues to be lied to... Insulted and ignored your own documents claim value of our heritage horse yet recent talks makes it clear aerial culling ... Shooting and removal will continue .. Your number counts are wrong .. The scientific papers produced against brumbies are refuted in more esteemed research and papers yet the bull continues ... I've had your staff insult and belittle me and my fellow concerned and frankly the community consultation process frankly is a sham. Seems to your offerings and advocacy brumbies singlehandedly destroy parks yet only occupy 20% of park.. How much plantation destruction stuffed water ways for corroboree frogs? How many humans stuff the park? This is a petty little play for green votes while the bigger issues like poor govt funding and park management are utterly ignored ... Have you read your own contradictory propaganda lately?? How inaccurate ... Especially when the aim is to return parks to pre European settlement when no study ever established what the hell that was ... Ecology over environment is too logical of an approach for govt and parks and is easily sold for plantation ruin while investing our tax$ in exterminating horses we put there through history I say good sir you need to read study and listen to the people of this land 80% of Aussies live near the coast and drive the catch phrase 'save the environment' yet wouldn't know what the environment was please re read your material and correct your mistakes and when you offer public inclusion how about you give respect and not lies and miscellaneous hypocrisy
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    • Catherine Russell about 4 years ago
      Thank you for your comments Lucinda and for joining the online consultation. This consultation will be open until 30 November and we welcome all views.
    • Bush lover about 4 years ago
      Lucinda, you quote lots of "facts", but provide no references to the sources of these facts. I would be really interested to read details of the "more esteemed research and papers" that you say refute the scientific papers readily available.If you cannot do that, then your whole comment will just be regarded as bluster to support your own beliefs.
    • peter_mcc about 4 years ago
      Hi Lucinda, you've packed a lot into one comment. As Bush Lover has said, can you provide references to "more esteemed research and papers", "contradictory propaganda", "correct your mistakes" and "lies and miscellaneous hypocrisy"?Horses were bought to Australia by the First Fleet so any attempt to return the park to "pre European settlement" would have to involve the elimination of all the feral animals (horses included - they have been recognised as a feral animal since the 1860's). However, as others have said it would be impossible to kill all the horses so there will always be some around for heritage value. It seems that people are quite attached to horses in a way that dear/goats/pigs/rabbits/wild dogs don't generate. Are you happy with them removing/culling any of the horses or do you want to see their numbers keep growing?
  • Jindygal about 4 years ago
    First and foremost, the environmental impact from the feral horses that now exists needs to be faced. It's heartbreaking to see the trashing of our beautiful mountains and the further endangering of endangered species like the iconic corroboree frog. Knowing the numbers and the rate of increase will affect what methods are used to remove them. The most cost-effective and humane removal method is already well known, it just needs a politician with backbone give the green light. The sooner the horses are removed the less expensive it will be. If a decision is made to leave 1000 horses, and they increase at only 10% per year, at the end of 10 years you have over 2500 to cope with, and over 6000 if the rate is 20%. From an economic angle, total removal is necessary. Doing nothing since 2003 has been a massively costly mistake.
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    • Mbidgee about 4 years ago
      I agree, most people recognise that there is significant , and easily recognised, environmental damage by horses. There is also damage by feral pigs, deer goats, and rabbits. But horses are the largest animals and will have the biggest impact of the sensitive habitats. It is not imporant to know how many feral horses there are. There are existing esimates of numbers, and it would cost a lot to get better estimates. Meanwhile, we need to use the budgets we have to control horses before the numbers get very large, and continue monitoring the damage done by horses. Control of horses to acceptable levels will take several years, and that gives time for further estimates.Aerial shooting of horses could be used to produce an index of horse numbers: for each annual control program, record the numbers shot and the amount of time it takes: Catch (=kill) per unit of effort is a well known method of finding a population index.
  • nicole about 4 years ago
    Just a quick note to remind everyone about a couple of the forum guidelines: 1. Always respect the views of other participants even if they don't agree with you.2. Be constructive. It's okay to disagree with other forum participants, in fact we encourage debate, just keep the dialogue positive.3. Always keep things civil. We recognize that this can be difficult sometimes, especially when you are passionate about an issue, but it is important to keep the discussion focused on the issues rather than letting it deteriorate into personal insults.The full list of Forum Etiquette points can be found at https://engage.environment.nsw.gov.au/moderation#etiquetteThanks everyone.
  • Bush lover about 4 years ago
    I am not sure that either question is relevant. What needs to be established is the extent of the damage to the park ecosystem, and what causes the damage.From a recent trip in an untracked wilderness area, I can say with authority that the damage is great. We could hardly walk a few metres without having to go around piles of horse dung. Beautiful alpine creeks had been turned into bogs 5 metres wide. There are dustbowls where animals have rolled around. The banks of waterholes and rivers are all trampled down and creating erosion problems. Delicate water plants can only survive so much abuse before they die. Water from prisitne-looking mountain streams can no longer be drunk without purification treatment.This is in an area not much visited by humans. My observations were made after three hours of bush-bashing from the nearest track. The damage near roads and tracks is much less severe. Any assessment of damage made from a vehicle or walking a few metres from a track cannot give an indication of the damage in more remote areas.So what causes this damage? From the shape of the hoof prints in the mud and the piles of dung, it can only be horses.Does it matter how many horses there are? Not at all. However many there are *now*, it is too many. They need to go. And soon.
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    • nicole about 4 years ago
      Hi Bush Lover, can you tell us which part of the KNP you walked through? We're interested to get as complete a picture of the impact of the horses as possible. Combining anecdotal evidence such as yours with aerial surveillance helps to build that picture.
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      • Bush lover about 4 years ago
        I walked from the Snowy River across to Cowombat Flat, then up to Dead Horse Gap. This took six days.
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        • Bush lover about 4 years ago
          I should have added that this trip was earlier this year. In recent years I have also been to the northern part of the park, around Long Plain and Blue Waterholes, as far as Pocket's, Oldfield's and Old Currango Huts, and south of Mt Selwyn.
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          • nicole about 4 years ago
            Thanks Bush Lover. Appreciate you letting us know.
  • Maree about 4 years ago
    The impact of the introduced species is important to consider in an Australian landscape. What happens to all the wildflowers and the ecological food web? Our culture could give Native species more love and respect I think. They are not just important for sustainability, but for our own connection to Earth too.
  • Donna about 4 years ago
    Both, without question. I would in fact go so far as to say one cannot be determined without the other. How is it possible to measure the impact of an unknown variable? That is to say that without first establishing the size of a threat, it is impossible to evaluate the subsequent impact.Establishing the true perpetrators of any impacts without question is made even more difficult when other introduced species are included in the equation; the damage caused by pigs is very similar to that of horses for example, a fact admitted by a NPWS employee in a public meeting and one that suggests further study & research is needed in order to ascertain the difference, and therefore aid in evaluating the actual impact of the horse population.It is also unreasonable to generalise when referring to the entire park in terms of being over populated by brumbies; without knowing their true number, how can you assess the areas they inhabit and any subsequent impacts? Knowing the actual number of brumbies present in the park is crucial to the development of a management plan inclusive of a remaining population.