What is your preferred control method and why?

by Catherine Russell, about 3 years ago
Thank you for your contribution to this discussion. This discussion is now closed but you can still view the material and the discussion.

Where do you sit on a sliding scale from 0 to 10, with 0 being (this control method) is completely UNACCEPTABLE for wild horses in KNP and 10 being (this control method) is completely ACCEPTABLE for wild horses in KNP? 

Methods that could be considered to manage the wild horse population include: 

  • Trapping and removal then rehoming or transport to abattoir
  • Trapping and euthanasia at trap site where horses can’t be rehomed or transported
  • Aerial or ground mustering
  • Fertility control
  • Ground shooting
  • Brumby running or roping
  • Fencing
  • Aerial shooting
  • Do nothing option 


charlie about 3 years ago
I totally agree with Jindygal. When they shot the horses in Guyfawkes NP. it was a drought and the horses were dying, another couple of days and they would have finished the shoot. They have trapped since this time and some accessible areas have very low numbers, but the rest of the park have built up to the same number before shooting. This put a huge stress on native animal like rock wallabys and bettongs with the vegetation eaten out and cover knocked over. These sort of animals along with the bird life that need cover for food and survival are what national parks are about. I have worked on stations and some of my best friends were horses, they are lovely animals,(the nice ones) but they are much like us if left to breed. They destroy their surroundings and out compete all other animals. The only way to keep horses in control is by aerial shooting.
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Khankhan about 3 years ago
Some 20+ years ago the New Zealanders decided against using ground or aerial shooting to reduce the increasing number of Kaimanawa horses on the North Island. Note, these horses are on Military training grounds, state forest and some private lands. It then took them 18 annual aerial musters to get the horse numbers down from around 1700-1800 to 300! A long time and a lot of effort, and no significant outcomes until recent years. They can now do biennial musters since 2012, but each time have to cull approx. 160-180 horses.
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HVBA Vice President about 3 years ago
Actually, I'm pretty sure they aren't killing any now because they can find homes for all of them, imagine how great it would be if we could do that. The Newzealanders have shown it is possible, and all without aerial culling!!!
Donna about 3 years ago
AdminAt this point in the process I think it's really important that we waste as little time as possible in finding some middle ground on control methods, and to be honest I don't feel the design of this topic is conducive to that aim. Can you please advise why aerial culling is being offered as an option in light of the moratorium in place since 2000? Are we to assume that agreement has been given from the relevant Govt department on lifting the moratorium, should this process indeed prove that majority opinion is in favour? We know that aerial mustering is not a genuinely feasible option given the complications you've already mentioned, and the same can be said for the 'do nothing' option due to legislative requirements, and again for the fencing option that has been discounted numerous times at public meetings by parks' employees as being too expensive and complicated, so why are they even being discussed? Why are we to continue wasting valuable time debating non options that only serve to confuse an already complex issue, rather than being totally clear on what the actual options are, so that agreement can be reached? I'm beginning to feel my suspicions of this being a mere distraction for the pro brumby among us are well founded, and that this discussion is moot; the decision appears to have been made to eliminate all other options but aerial culling, even though it's actually not a real option.I also wonder at the descriptions given for each option as explained to Themba by Admin2; there is a clear connotation in each that is intentional and designed to focus on the negatives of each approach. Would it not stand to reason that in order to make a fully informed decision people need to be aware of the pro's and con's? It's very easy to make aerial culling sound 'appealing' to other alternatives when it is the only one presented in a positive light, with the inclusion of any negatives 'softened' by phrases like "in rare cases" or "negligible" or worse and most insulting of all, "the most humane".
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Catherine Russell about 3 years ago
Hi Donna, thank you for your comments and ongoing interest. This is a question that was asked at the 21st Century Town Hall and is also asked in the survey on this site. While the only method in use by NPWS is passive trapping and rehoming, the range of control methods are drawn from page 23 of the current Wild Horse Management Plan http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/resources/nature/KNPHorseManagementPlanFinal08.pdfAs stated several times on this site and in discussions with media and stakeholders about this consultation, there is no decision taken regarding the adoption of refined, new or additional control methods as the review of the Wild Horse Management Plan is underway and will be subject to input from the Independent Technical Reference Group prior to the draft plan being placed on public exhibition next year.
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Donna about 3 years ago
I understand the reference to the current management plan but disagree that all methods need to be re-evaluated and discussed as many, including aerial culling, were dismissed as unusable by the steering committee at the time. My question relates to any changes since the inception of the current management plan that indicate aerial culling specifically may be an option for the new plan, given the moratorium in place. I don't feel your response has adequately addressed this question.In reference to the current management plan, there are several issues of contention for me. Firstly there are clear omissions of factual information and in some instances, completely incorrect information is provided, with regard to the use of fertility controls in particular. Why has NPWS chosen to use this same outdated and incorrect information in their current review, knowing full well advances have been made in many areas and new technologies create greater feasibility for some options, including fertility control? To state that the range of methods are drawn from the current management plan is to infer the possibility of inclusion in the new plan, and to state this regarding aerial culling, given the moratorium in place, is baffling to me and most definitely confuses the issue further for the uninitiated.
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InterestedObserver about 3 years ago
Aerial culling was dismissed because of the moratorium. But now it's "back on the table":apparetnyl everything is on the table, so options like baiting/poisoning should be assessed too. But I'd only give that about a 2 or 3, as it would be hard to make target specific.Do nothing would be rated higher than passive trapping alone, as it costs less but ultimately will have the same result.Aerial shooting 9/10Fertility control - 1/10 currently. If it can be made effectiveon large numbers of free ranging pests it would rate higher. Something like daughterless technology used on carp would be better, but probably a tricky thing to make effective too.
Jindygal about 3 years ago
These options need to be considered against the background that the Parks service has a limited budget. If you think education and health are doing it tough, try working for Parks. They have to work to the 20:80 principles, ie, to do as much as possible as efficiently as possible, even if it isn’t perfect. Costs must be considered along with effectiveness and humaneness.Trapping and removal then rehoming or transport to abattoir is stressful and isn’t nearly effective enough for the costs involved. Wild horses, used to running free, are suddenly trucked off hundreds of kilometres away. Given so few are then chosen for re-homing, it is an expensive gift to the re-homers when the Parks service then has to send the remainder on to abattoirs. If there is a more cost-effective to supply horses for re-homing, let’s consider it. The current model isn’t good enough. 4/10Trapping and euthanasia at trap site where horses can’t be rehomed or transported is more humane. No transport stress or costs. Still requires staff to examine the traps daily so it limits the areas where this method can be used. 7/10Aerial or ground mustering might be useful in some circumstance. Many horses are a long way from track-heads, so there could be stresses moving the horses to those locations just to endure the stress of transportation before going to the abattoir. Extreme care would be needed not to panic horses and cause them to run into any fences or other objects, injuring themselves. This method has some potential if horses are then euthanized at a collection point. It would need trials to evaluate the cost-effectiveness and humaneness. 4/10 Fertility control. Even it aerial darting were 100% effective, it would have no effect on reducing numbers for a decade or two. To stop breeding it would have to be repeated regularly. Trapping to sterilise horses is a massive job requiring on-site vets. Only some horses get trapped anyway. Doesn’t seem practical and isn’t effective in the short and medium term. 1/10Ground shooting would need to be very tightly controlled. Previous suggestions hunters could shoot feral animals in national parks brought out rural and even city shooters saying ‘we thought we could’. Wild horses are notoriously evasive when they see people during the daytime. We don't need valuable Parks staff time used in side issues to police gung-ho people. 2/10Brumby running or roping is a cruel sport. One-on-one catching isn’t going to make an impression on numbers anyway. 0/10Fencing is an expensive, intrusive option that doesn’t get to the problem. Fence the water courses off to save them and let the horses die of thirst? I think not. Or would 'shuts' to water points be left for the horses to really create new erosion channels? 2/10Aerial shooting. A lot of hype surrounds this. Whilst other States find this an effective method of feral animal control, NSW was subjected to a hysteria campaign following the discovery of one horse alive in Guy Fawkes National Park a week after over 600 were shot from the air in 2000. Without waiting for an enquiry, the Minister said that aerial shooting would not be allowed again. At that stage he presumed other controls might work. Millions of dollars and over a decade later, they haven't.The enquiry following Guy Fawkes recommended that.......... 'aerial shooting of pest animals, including feral horses, be retained as a method of control under appropriate circumstances, providing that everything possible is done to ensure that it is carried out humanely.' And that ' ……....the recent stark images of shot horses, and the emotive language used by some commentators, must be countered by effective education the threatening processes confronting our native fauna'. The executive summary can be found at:http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/resources/pestsweeds/englishReport.pdfI have observed the way feral goats intimidated kangaroos from drinking from the Darling River, eyeing them off and advancing on them each time the kangaroos approached the water. The kangaroos backed off. Under that sort of stress, they will not breed. Horses pose a similar stress to kangaroos, upsetting their resting places. Over the years there seem to be fewer emus and kangaroos in the mountains. In the small streams, there is an absence of sound from frogs and whatever else chirps, where the horses have flattened the vegetation and stream banks. Open the Frogs no Frogs album on this flickr set and listen to the silence. https://www.flickr.com/photos/91914657@N08/sets/Aerial shooting is cost-effective, and can achieve results quickly. Part of resumption of aerial shooting must include effective checking that the target animals, be they horses, deer or any other feral species, are killed humanely. This option would release staff and money to do other necessary work including more attention to the many other pest animals, including deer before their numbers explode, and weeds. Horses aren't the only issue in managing our national parks. 9/10Do nothing option At your peril. Aside from the environmental issues that are not being accepted by some in the community, there is a real safety issue to humans.Many years ago I was on a coach out from Wagga and some local horses had escaped onto the road. It was night, and the coach hit a horse, trapping it under the coach. Needless to say, the injured horse had to be put down and removed, a stressful process that took a few hours. The windscreen of the coach is high so no-one was injured apart from the jult as we veered and stopped. Luckily for us, there wasn't any oncoming traffic to contend with until hazard lights had been set up. Had we been in a car, the horse would have hit the windscreen, and most likely killed the occupants. Sooner or later horses will be involved in serious accidents to motorists or motor-bike riders on the main roads through KNP.Horses do not seem to worry about objects in their way as they browse and cavort at night. In my visits to KNP over the last few years, I’ve witnessed where horses have knocked over a satellite dish outside a caravan at a popular camping site. At another car camping site, a table beside a 'van was knocked over by horses at night. Guy ropes on tents have been dislodged. I have heard horses galloping close by our tents, crashing through the timber, long after we’d gone to bed. We were zipped into our tents and had absolutely no way of evading them had they come closer. Mostly they just graze peacefully, to not always. Again, sooner or later, a person will be seriously injured.Wild horses in the parks aren't just about the so-called rights of the horses. Peaceful enjoyment of national parks by humans should not be compromised by feral animals. What price a human? 000/10
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Donna about 3 years ago
Jindygal, you say fencing is an expensive and intrusive option that doesn't get to the problem, and yet you mention the risk to motorists because the horses are able to get onto the road? Seems fencing would certainly get to that problem, at the very least.You mention several camp sites and the 'interference' the horses cause to campers. "I have heard horses galloping close by our tents, crashing through the timber, long after we'd gone to bed" - I'm sorry, but that statement is the epitome of the self importance we humans place on ourselves and our apparent inherent 'rights', such as being able to sleep undisturbed in the bush, where wild animals abide; how dare they gallop around and keep everyone awake, have they no sense of decency?? Sarcasm aside, your attitude strikes me as naive and childish. I have spent nights in areas frequented by 'wild' brumbies and never felt threatened by them, in fact my children and I spent well over an hour one day simply sitting and watching a pair of young bachelor stallions. They displayed curiosity and uncertainty and even interest in being as close to us as their flight instinct would allow, but not one iota of aggression. I have heard them running through the bush at night, stallions snorting to other stallions, mares whinnying to foals and it's music to my ears. The fact is, these horses were there long before there was ever a national park - to suggest they interfere with YOUR experience is akin to complaining when you swim in the ocean and get stung by a jellyfish. They deserve no less respect than any animal in their own habitat, and like it or not, that's the truth of their present situation; thanks to questionable actions of our ancestors and simple economics, these horses were deserted and abandoned, left to fend for themselves in an alien environment and they succeeded against all odds. They care not for your "peaceful enjoyment" of their home.
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Jindygal about 3 years ago
The horse that the bus hit had been in a paddock with the others. They got out. Simple as that. Surely you don't want to fence all the roads through national parks.When horses cause risk to people, they are a danger. The incidents i mentioned occurred at night. The galloping was around 9.30pm, long after dark. The other car camping incidents were to illustrate how horses don't seem to be aware or bothered by sizeable solid objects. I hadn't been too worried about being in a tiny tent until I witnessed these incidents.
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Jindygal about 3 years ago
The number of people who don't care about the safety of people worries me.
Themba about 3 years ago
Thanks for this list Admin2. Can I ask for clarification on what exactly is meant by Aerial or ground mustering? Is this mustering for rehoming or something else?
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Admin Commented Jenny.Bhatai about 3 years ago
Hi Themba, Aerial or ground mustering: Horses are mustered using either (or a combination of) helicopter, horse riders or all-terrain vehicles to herd and move them into a yard using long fences and suitable terrain to guide them to the yard. They are then loaded for transport and removed or euthanased on site as above. This method relies heavily on access and finding a suitable location and terrain. There are safety and injury risks to personnel and horses. Mustering places more stress on horses than lure trapping. It is possible to capture a large number of horses at one time where populations are dense. Trapping and removal then rehoming or transport to abattoir:Horses are lured to portable and semi- permanent yards using mineral blocks or molasses. Horses enter the yard of their own will, triggering a gate that encloses them in the yard. Horses may be trapped singularly or in whole groups up to 10 at a time. Horse social groups can be disturbed if some are not trapped. Horses are loaded directly on to a truck or trailer for removal from the park therefore yards can only be placed in areas that have vehicular access. Horses may become highly stressed or injured during this process. It can be very labour intensive taking many weeks to establish and lure horses to a yard which must be checked daily.
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Themba about 3 years ago
Thanks for the clarification Admin2
HVBA Vice President about 3 years ago
I would like to add that the horses are not stressed or injured when they are rehomed. We do EVERYTHING to ensure they are treated extremely humanely and they always travel very well. Oh and there is the added bonus that they get to live...There is information in the Kitchen Table Discission Booklet on all the different control measures if anyone is interested. But it is a little inaccurate about the fertility control. You do not need to trap and handle the horses in order to administer the drugs, they have been successfully darting horses in open areas in america for 30 years. It also fails to mention that not one single wild horse advocate will agree that aerial culling is humane, yet that is what it is called in the booklet. NOT ONE! doesn't that seem like important information...Its interesting to see how biased against the two above methods the information that is provided to the public is, and how biased for aerial culling the information on that is. I thought there had been "no decisions: so far on what is and isn't acceptable but after reading that little blurb, if I had no other info I'd say they were bad. Lucky I know better...Of course my preferred control method is actually a mixed method approach, passive trapping and rehoming, some fencing where suitable, and some fertility control for good measure.
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peter_mcc about 3 years ago
How close do you have to be to dart a horse for fertility control? Do they do it from the ground or helicopter? How do you know which ones you've darted to avoid doing them more than once?
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Bio-Brumby about 3 years ago
Good Questions. My understanding is that the dart gun shooter has to have clear vision of the horse, and set the gun to the actual distance. I.e. if too close for the setting the dart will go straight through, if too far for the setting, the dart will bounce off without penetrating. That said, I have emailed someone to get a more specific response and will get back with the reply. The shooter is on the ground, I am not aware of darts being shot from a helicopter, probable for 2 reasons, and 1) the Dart Gun has to be very accurately set, and secondly, target specific, which is hard from a moving platform aiming at a moving target.Darts self-eject from the mare, so there are no retrieval issues, and leave a colour stain to identify the vaccine delivery.Regards, Bio-Brumby
Khankhan about 3 years ago
Hello Admin2. In New Zealand they do a biennial muster of what are referred to as the Kaimanawa Horses. The latest aerial muster was May 2014. http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/10091039/Kaimanawas-wild-horse-muster Such musters have occurred for at least a decade, with the aim to keep the herd in the wild at around 300 horses. Not all of the horses captured in the 2012 muster could be rehomed, but it seems in 2014 (can it be because there are better economic conditions in NZ now?) all have been rehomed.Of interest the growth rate appears to be very close to 23%, a general standard for horses in the wild, particularly those in natural protected areas.I thought the video of the horses being brought into the yard looked remarkably calm. Maybe we should bring in the Kiwis?
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HVBA Vice President about 3 years ago
Definitely looks worth doing a trial anyway. I think the only thing I would suggest to improve the welfare of the horses, is to leave the family groups together if you can. If you are bringing them in as one family group, we find that keeping the group together as much as possible provides comfort for them during the initial rehoming phase. Separating a foal from their mothers is also barbaric, so we don't want to do that. One way to split a family up without causing too much distress is to take a couple of mares away from the stallion (preferably not all, but this would happen in the wild sometimes so it might be fine). Another way to do it is to take the 2-4 year old colts out of the group, these guys would have been kicked out soon anyway so again mimicking what happens in the wild. We don't know how the brumbies will respond to being mustered and what it will do to the rehoming prospects, just because it works for the Kaimanawa horses doesn't mean it would necessarily work for brumbies, Kaimanawa horses have very unique social behaviours and perhaps these would help them cope better with this kind of management, but a trial would soon sort that out.
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Khankhan about 3 years ago
HVBA Vice PresidentWithout researching Kaimanawa videos and pictures again, I am sure they gave instructions to the helicopter pilot when they were telling him where to search, that he was to try and keep the family groups together. Also in a video I saw on one of the NZ re-homing sites, for I think the 2012 aerial muster, that there was quite a lengthy extract of the horses in the trap yards. One set had a foal nuzzling and drinking from its mother. As you said, family split ups occur in the wild too, but given the right locations the process sounds well worth at least a trial period.As for the Kiwis themselves, the team has worked together for many many years, vet, manager, helicopter pilot, musterers, rehomers, etc. They have to deal with very inclement weather, rain, fogs, snow, winds, from grasslands to mountain terrain and vegetation. Not entirely dissimilar to large parts of Kosci.Nevertheless, as we would probably agree there is no single method that suits all conditions, it is all part of the tool-kit. It took 19 consecutive years for the Kiwis to reduce the Kaimanawa horse numbers from around 1700-1800 down to 300, that they now maintain.Thanks for your input.
Perplexed about 3 years ago
The question in my view again is flawed. There should not be a preferred method for horse management in KNP, there should in my view be a range of methods available to management to choose the one that best suits the situation, circumstances and need for control. And yes that includes aerial culling, ground shooting, fertility control, trapping and removal, trapping and euthanasia, mustering and in some very limited circumstances probably even roping. Being reliant on one control method because of political intereference as a reaction to different groups agendas, media beat ups, and uniformed do gooderness have lead to the mess that we see today. No good outcome for the environment and no good outcome for the long term animal welfare of the horses involved.
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HVBA Vice President about 3 years ago
I agree with you Perplexed that the question is flawed, it is surprising to me that everyone thinks of these methods as each isolated from the others. While fertility control would not reduce the numbers quickly enough on its own, how could it possible hurt to administer it to the horses that cannot travel and have to be let out of the yards. We know this occasionally happens, why not just dart them with some PZP for good measure. While fencing the entire park would be extremely costly and create some navigation difficulties, for certain areas that are particularly vulnerable, it makes sense to give them absolute protection, I can't understand why anyone who actually cared about protecting these sensitive environments would be opposed to this. It could be temporary fencing that is removed once the region has had a chance to regenerate a little if that is all that is needed. Horses are creatures of habit and you might find that if you break their habit of walking through this one sensitive area by redirecting them through a non sensitive area, they won't go back there. Passive trapping has maintained a stable population for the past 5 years so lets continue that, and trial mustering to see if it can humanely make it more efficient. Lets never forget that the humaneness of the program is paramount, so on these grounds aerial culling should be rejected permanently as a management option. The point is, you don't need to choose one method only, its a combination of control measures that is going to achieve the desired outcome of a sustainable population of wild horses that does not negatively impact the environment they live in.
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Mbidgee about 3 years ago
HBVA Vice Pesident, and Perplexed, I think that both of you have completely missed the point of this question. It asks for you to comment on your preferred method of control, but it actually means your preferences for the 10 listed control methods.My own preferences areTrapping and rehoming: 3/10, Only when there is a demonstrated demand for horses for rehoming, and the recipient paysTrapping and euthanasia 1/10, Aerial and ground mustering 3/10 But where are the mustered horses going to be contained, and what do we do then ?Fertility control 0/10Ground shooting 4/10, Brumby running or roping 2/10Fencing 2/10 and only in selected high value sitesAerial shooting 10/10 The only really viable option for effective, humane control at a reasonable costDo nothing option 0/10 Why we we even consider this after all the effort in consultation !
Themba about 3 years ago
My thought are:1. Trapping and removal then rehoming - Rating 10 (The Brumbies are becoming more popular as people realise their potential in the show ring and as riding horses, I also believe this to be a humane method).2. or transport to abattoir - Rating 0 (This is a waste of a valuable resources that parks could make money out of. Parks have accommodation for artist to gain inspiration so why not have accommodation for people who want to study and observe the horses in their wild state).3. Trapping and euthanasia at trap site where horses can’t be rehomed or transported - Rating 3 (I would prefer the horse be released instead. If the horse can't be rehomed due to age for example or the weather is not good enough for the horse to be transported out for rehoming then I would prefer the horse was released for capture at another time or to die of old age).4. Aerial or ground mustering - Rating 0 (I don't believe aerial or ground mustering is a humane or safe way to "round" the horses up, either for the horses themselves or for the people and animals doing the mustering. It would to my mind put too much stress on the animals and risk young foals being left behind to starve to death or be taken by predators).5. Fertility control - Rating 10 (I would fully support fertility control, it is humane and effective and has been used for many wild animals with good results).6. Ground shooting - Rating 5 (I may surprise people here and say that If ground shooting was conducted in a humane way by expert shooters and the carcass removed afterwards then I think this is preferable to the horses being trucked out to an abattoir. 7. Brumby running or roping - Rating 2 (I do believe it runs the risk of foals being separated from their mothers and starving to death or the horses becoming terrified of humans. There is also a large risk of injury to the horses and those animals and humans conducting the running or roping). 8. Fencing - Rating 10 (Parks already use this method to exclude the horses from areas and I believe it to be a humane method. It would also demonstrate exactly what happens when the horses are excluded from areas and the fences can be removed if necessary).9. Aerial shooting - Rating 0 (After seeing the aerial footage taken from the helicopter in Guy Fawkes of multiple body shots and broken legs on terrified horses that continued to run with these injuries and were left to suffer I would never consider this as an option. I would like to believe that the human race is a little more advanced than to even consider such an in-humane method).10. Do nothing option - Rating 8 (I do believe there needs to be a humane management plan that is non lethal but the "do nothing" option would display once and for all what damage the horses are actually doing in the park.
Themba about 3 years ago
I have to say that I am a little confused as to why this question has been set up as a forum when it mirrors the same question asked in the survey? Admin, are you able to advise why it was decided a question in the survey should have it's own forum??
Bio-Brumby about 3 years ago
Thanks for the chance to comment on these options. I have a problem answering the first option as I agree with passive trapping & rehoming but not transporting to abattoirs. I prefer that horses not being rehomed be euthanized at trap site under relevant COPs. I asked this at the 21st century meeting 29 Nov 2014 and was told it could not be changed as “that is what happens now”. As we are asked on methods that could (future tense) be considered to manage wild horse population, I'll answer for the (future) plan. So ‘0’ being unacceptable & 10 being acceptable horse control in KNP, see below; Scale 10 - Trapping and removal and rehoming [Best option to me]Scale 0 - Trapping and removal then sending to abattoir [No]Scale 10 - Trapping and euthanasia at trap site where horses can’t be rehomed or transported [Sad, but better than transport to abattoirs]Scale 6 - Aerial or ground mustering [Trial for humaneness & feasibility before becoming a firm option]Scale 10 - Fertility control [Dart guns suited to free roaming Brumbies ie no trap required] [Yes]Scale 0 - Ground shooting [Assuming free roaming wild Horses] [No]Scale 6 - Brumby running or roping [Provided this is done by someone who is taking that Brumby home to train and use and so assumes a level of care to enable best training results and that humane COPs are drawn up, monitored and enforced, to AVOID repeating injuries, stress etc for Brumbies run/roped than currently trucked to abattoirs from AlpsVic under contract with Parks Victoria.Scale 0 - Brumby running or roping [Where conducted under a contract/quota system as occurs in Alps Victoria, using dogs, tying Brumbies on 1 meter of rope to trees over several days until sufficient numbers have been roped to truck to the abattoir] [No]Scale 6 - Fencing [Assuming a) All animals caught on the enclosed side can ‘push’ through gaps to return to their groups (Technical term?). Assuming b) areas outside the excluded have sufficient room, water, feed, shelter etc, and assuming c) relevant fencing codes are followed to minimise injury to any animal in the park] Scale 0 - Aerial shooting [No]Scale 1 - Do nothing option [We need to keep Brumby populations at sustainable limit so native flora/fauna remain robust, so I it is hard to support this option if scientific, peer reviewed studies ARE conducted that show Brumby and other threats are in abundance above reasonable limits].I will do the ‘why’ in a separate response. Regards, Bio-Brumby
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Bio-Brumby about 3 years ago
Hi everyone, I (Bio-Brumby) have put my REASONS/WHY I have voted above as 'reply' to keep it close to my first response - hope you can follow OK.“Trap/remove/rehome[10]” Because PASSIVE trapping by NPWS staff in the Tumut/KNP area has evolved into a calm, efficient & humane way. Horses taken to rehome more readily accept human contact as first contact was not threatening. As comparison, rehoming groups who have collected Brumbies roped in VicAlps via Parks Victoria contract to local Brumby runner/ropers take a long time to gentle and accept domestic life, having had such a stressful, painful introduction to humans and many with rope neck injuries and or dog bites.“Trap/remove/truck to abattoir [0]” Because for Brumbies not being rehomed, delaying death while enduring the stress of trucking to abattoirs (usually Peterborough, SA), being penned at abattoirs, before being ‘processed’, is no longer my preference nor RSPCA NSW’s, although abattoirs have been used to date. “Trapping/euthanasia at trap site where horses can’t be rehomed/transported [10]” Because PASSIVE trapping by NPWS staff - Tumut/KNP area has evolved into a calm, efficient & humane way. If horses cannot be collected by rehomers, then, sad as I feel, euthanasia at the trap site is my preferred option provided COPs are adhered to such as moving horses through a race, into a screened off area and a kill head shot delivered. The alternative to delay death trucking vast distances to abattoirs to be killed, is no longer my preference. “Aerial or ground mustering [6]” Because SLOW aerial or slow ground mustering, where the helicopter/riders position themselves to move wild horses in the preferred direction at a walk and never above the pace of the slowest animal, could be an option to trial. Horses become highly stressed if the helicopter/riders get too close, causing the mob to speed up, increasing injury risk & separating foals from mares etc. Trial/review before final decision. Presumable horses end in a trap, then above options; rehome where possible or euthanasia on site applies.“Fertility control [10]” Dart guns suited to free roaming Brumbies ie no trap req.] Because this is the most cost efficient and humane method available and can be a valuable option to complement passive trap programs.“Ground shooting [0] for free roaming wild Horses” Because it is hard to gain kill shots as horses scatter after the first shot to become moving targets, dodging rough ground, so kill shots are hard to achieve. Also essential ground back-up checks per COPs on each downed horse as terrain in KNP is rough, hilly and steep sides - is impossible to achieve. “Brumby running/roping [6]” Provided this is done by someone who is taking that Brumby home to train and use and assuming they will receive a level of care to enable best training results and that humane COPs are drawn up, monitored and enforced,that can avoid repeating inhumane injuries, stress etc. that occur in Brumbies roped under Parks Victoria quota contract in AlpsVic.“Brumby running/roping [0] Under a quota Contract per AlpsVic” Because the pressure to meet annual quotas under the Parks Victoria contract for AlpsVic compromises the level of care such as horses being roped over several days (increasing impacts at Cowombat) to catch sufficient to truck to an abattoir. Ropers have permission by Parks Victoria to use their dogs in the national park to speed up capture, then tie Brumbies on 1 meter of rope to trees, before loading onto trucks with winches and driving to an abattoir. “Fencing [6] Assuming” Because this can be an option provided … All animals caught on the enclosed side can ‘push’ through gaps to return to their groups (Technical term?). … Areas outside the fenced area have sufficient room, water, feed, shelter etc., and … Relevant fencing codes are followed to minimise injury to any animal in the parkHowever another way to keep wild horses away from extra sensitive areas is to trap in the adjacent area because low density horse mobs have no reason to extend their territory. This method could minimise the need to fence areas. “Aerial shooting [0]” Because COP conditions cannot be met in KNP, for example, COP HOR002 states “Aerial shooting should not be carried out if the nature of the terrain reduces accuracy resulting in too many wounding shots and prevents the humane and prompt despatch of wounded animals”.A feral horse should only be shot at when:... It can be clearly seen and recognised;... It is within the effective range of the firearm and ammunition being used; and... A humane kill is probable. If in doubt, do NOT shoot.My opinion is that because 670 horses have been passive trapped in one year, and the total population count for 2014 is 6,000, Passive trapping can work in KNP, especially if supported by fertility control. Long term costs for NPWS will significantly drop. Just hope NPWS keep up the same for all other threats, otherwise the work and horse deaths will have been for nothing. Regards, Bio-Brumby
peter_mcc about 3 years ago
It would probably be helpful to list the control techniques at the top so we can copy/paste them into our comment.
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Themba about 3 years ago
I agree with Peter_mcc. If a list of control methods were included at the top it would provide people with an overview of the methods parks are investigating or already use so they could provide a more informed answer to this question.
Admin Commented Jenny.Bhatai about 3 years ago
Thanks for your feedback Peter_mcc and Themba. Control methods that could be considered are now listed above. For further detail regarding these control methods please refer to the following link from page 8 onwards: http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/resources/protectsnowies/140822KitchenTableDiscussion.pdf
peter_mcc about 3 years ago
Hard question to answer because different methods are needed at different times.I'd say right now - aerial culling to greatly reduce the population of horses and other feral animals - 8/10. Passive trapping - right now 5/10 because it isn't keeping up. If passive trapping could economically greatly reduce the horse population in all areas of the park then it would get 8/10 too - but the past few years have shown that it just can't keep a lid on the numbers.Once numbers are reduced - Passive trapping for the areas where that is possible (8/10) and aerial culling for areas where it isn't (8/10).I don't think the other control methods are of any great use because they are either impractical, inhumane or inefficient.