Which of the following do you think is the MOST important thing NPWS should consider when deciding on the control methods?

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.

.  The safety of NPWS staff and others involved in the activity

.  The cost of the undertaking the control method

.  How humane the control method is

.  The effectiveness of the method to control population numbers


HVBA Vice President about 3 years ago
Everyone knows my views. Humaneness is the MOST important thing. Effectiveness comes next, why would you do something if its not working. Luckily, we already have a solution that is both humane and has been proven to be effective, Passive Trapping.
Hide Replies (3)
InterestedObserver about 3 years ago
With numbers increasing despite passive trapping, it's clearly not effective.
Hide Replies (2)
HVBA Vice President about 3 years ago
except that the numbers have not increased over the past five years of the trapping program, and that was when they were still ironing out the kinks in the method, it becomes more effective each year as they get better at it.
Hide reply (1)
InterestedObserver about 3 years ago
No, the surveys estimate there has been an increase despite very expensive passive trapping being undertaken.
Bio-Brumby about 3 years ago
Keith Muir, Colong Foundation for Wilderness has stated on the "Share you story" page the following;"the 2014 Australian Alps horse aerial survey has estimated that there are about 6,000 wild horses in Kosciuszko National Park, an increase on the 2009 estimate of 4,200 horses. The combined effects of removal of 2,600 horses by trapping, wildfires and drought have not halted the increase. The next most common pest in the park was deer, with just over 1000 recorded and it too is on the increase.In mid-2015 the National Parks and Wildlife will release a new draft Wild Horse Management Plan for Kosciuszko National Park. The NPWS needs the support of a strong Environment Minister to stop the sentimental nonsense around horses dictating the continued use of ineffective and expensive pest control measures. The current trapping arrangements cause excessive distress to the horses captured and only a third of these horses are re-homed, the rest are hauled off park to be killed for dog food.There are 400,000 feral horses in Australia, so none need to be kept in national parks for sentimental reasons where they continue degrade sensitive environments like swamps, wetlands and stream banks. Feral horses are undoing the environmental restoration within the national park that cost tens of millions of dollars.Horse populations in the United States of America are kept effectively under control, even though their native vegetation is adapted to grazing by large ungulates like horses than the Australian bush. The Americans only have about 40,000 horses on their rangelands, and only a small fraction of this number is found in their national parks.The claim that feral horses can’t be eradicated from Kosciuszko National Park is wrong. The cattle and sheep were, and with political will the horse can be too. Feral horses were almost eradicated in the Blue Mountains, and the feral cattle were eradicated in the 1990s. The cost of trapping and removal at over $1000 per horse is too much and is only slowing the population growth, not solving the problem. This poor control outcome should give a clear direction to the NSW Government that it must lift the NSW ban on the most humane, effective and, arguably, least ecologically damaging method of removing horses from national parks - aerial shooting.Keith Muir, Colong Foundation for Wilderness by Colong Wild 03 Dec 2014".As there is no way to reply to Keith on the "Share your story" page, I ask Keith to further his discussion on this chat page, in the hope Keith will respond to my comments on his comments per below.......Hi Keith, the 2009 NPWS count for KNP is 4,237 & the 2014 NPWS count for KNP is 6,000.That is an increase of 1,763 over 6 years, not an “increase on the 2009 estimate of 4,200 horses” as you seem to infer on the “Share your story” page. This increase represents an average increase of 294 per year. NPWS are now able to remove at least 670 wild horses per year, this means that passive trapping can prevent any increase on the current 6,000 in KNP and in fact lower the count. Add fertility control to trapping and the population will drop again.Passive trapping no longer causes “excessive distress”, in fact they are so calmly introduced to human contact that Brumbies collected from passive trap programs make great domestic riding horses, see the wealth of stories on the “Share your story” page.Agree the majority of Brumbies trapped end at abattoirs, and so I would push for euthanasia on site.As to your claim that aerial culling is humane, I point you to many of the links on this conversation site that show otherwise.I look forward to your response, Regards, Bio-Brumby
Hide Replies (3)
Jindygal about 3 years ago
I watched the video and passive trapping seems to rely on having the horses come to a trap site. As far as it goes, especially if horses are euthanised on site, it works. But there are still the horse populations further away from the sites where traps can be put. Other methods are necessary, and aerial culling can be at least as humane as any other method. Despite all the hysteria following the aerial culling of feral horses in Guy Fawkes National Park in 2000, the Report into the event from Dr English, commissioned by the NSW Government said:As a result of this inquiry I make the following recommendations:a. That aerial shooting of pest animals,includingferalhorses,be retained as method of control under appropriate circumstances, providing that everything possible is done to ensure that it is carried out humanely,b. That the FAAST Management Committee be tasked with a review of current aerial shooting protocols for all species, with a view to achieving improvements where required,c. That funding be made available for studies on improving the methods for assessing the impacts of feral horses in Australia, and on options for their management in a range of habitats,d. That a Code of Practice for the capture and transport of feral horses be developed and enforced,e. That efforts be made to further reduce the number of horses remaining in GFRNP, by a range of means including aerial shooting,f. That the community continue to be made aware of the need for effective control of feral animals in Australia by all appropriate means, including aerial shooting. The recent stark images of shot horses, and the emotive language used by some commentators, must be countered by effective education concerning the threatening processes confronting our native fauna.We do require any method of removing horses to be as painless and stressless as possible. But don't forget that living in the wild is not a picnic. A stallion will attack colts in the mob as they come to maturity, and either kill them or drive them off to establish their own mob. No mercy. And they die of old age without veterinary intervention. Also, if horses eliminate other animals by frightening them from watering places, generally intimidating them from their feed grounds and resting places, isn't that cruelty, one big species to defenceless species.
Hide Replies (2)
Donna about 3 years ago
I'm a bit lost as to your goal with the referencing of Dr. English's report to be honest. It certainly cannot be used as any sort of guide to what HAS occurred since the debacle at GFRNP, of that I am certain.A. Aerial shooting of pest animals including feral horses has been retained by at least three states since 2000, with results proving everything possible was NOT done to ensure it is carried out humanely. B. The FAAST Management Committee may have been tasked with a review of current shooting protocols for all species, with a view to improvements where required, yet we continue to see the poor results of inhumane shooting of ALL species, not only horses. The Review of non commercial control methods for feral animals states "The single most important resource inadequacy was a lack of appropriately qualified and licensed marksmen to undertake aerial shooting operations, followed by lack of aircraft, and lack of qualified pilots" (Holznagel & Saalfeld 2002). The link I provided in another forum regarding an aerial cull of Camels conducted just this year proves more than amply that 12 years has made little difference in this regard. Another interesting quote from that report "The pilot should aim to provide a shooting platform that is as stable as possible. Shooting from a moving platform can significantly detract from the shooter’s accuracy" and in relation to Ground shooting protocol "Camels must NOT be shot from a moving vehicle or other moving platform as this can significantly detract from the shooter’s accuracy". Um, what was that now?! If not possible from the ground off a moving platform due to minimising accuracy, how on earth is it even considered feasible let alone humane, from a helicopter?? And note it significantly detracts from the shooters accuracy; not a little, or by a negligible amount or even relatively, but significantly.C. I think it's pretty clear from this discussion alone there are more holes in the knowledge gained in assessing impacts of feral horses since 2000, than there are in Swiss cheese.D. Here is finally one we can tick in the affirmative, apart from the enforcing part of course. E. Oddly enough aerial culling has not been needed in managing the numbers of horses in GFRNP since 2000.F. The community has indeed continued to be made aware of one thing through the use of effective education - the ineptitude and inefficiency of aerial culling as a method of control for many species.As to your final analogy, I agree 'the wild' is no picnic, but therein lies my only agreement. I've witnessed a young colt receive what I initially thought to be particularly 'cruel' and stressful treatment by a herd stallion only to then watch in amazement as the colt returned for a solid second helping after sulking under a tree for about 10 mins. Despite the stallion's obvious attempt to teach the colt some manners in as fierce a way as possible without causing real injury, the colt remained insensitive enough to the 'stress' of it all to need a reminder lesson. Not everything is as we perceive it to be with regard to the way animals live in the wild; what we see as cruel or unnecessary is simply the way things are supposed to be.
Hide reply (1)
Jindygal about 3 years ago
A couple of quick points. Helicopters can hover as still as could be over trees, staying in one spot. How do you think people get winched off cliff lines, and out from between trees, or from canyons where some accidents occur. If the chopper moves in the least, a winched patient could get caught in the trees and....... So too the medico. It could even be the end of the helicopter. There are some skilled operators out there.Aerial culling has not been allowed in NSW since 2000. If feral numbers are minimal, other methods should be considered. The colt would come back for more for as long as it isn't beaten. Testosterone and youth v testosterone and old cunning. Survival of the fittest is what the contest it about, with the mares as the reward. Only one winner in the end though.
WildHorseEcology about 3 years ago
The right questions are not being asked. Unless there is an unbiased scientific accounting for and acknowledgement of the wild horse/brumbies positive contributions to the ecosystem you cannot ask this question. Humane relative to what? If there is random selection of who gets culled from a herd it is disruptive. It is also disruptive to focus on humane and effectiveness given that 'compensatory reproduction' takes place when an animal is not given the opportunity to fill its niche within nature.
Hide Replies (3)
Jindygal about 3 years ago
Horses have a negative effect on the ecosystem.
InterestedObserver about 3 years ago
Shouldn't we undertake thorough scientific study of all of the native species before looking for any improbabe benefit of a pest species?Humane relative to humane controls of other pest species would be a good start.
coastwatcher about 3 years ago
Positive contribution?? The way this is going we will still be having or attempting to conduct unbiased accounting in 2050. This is a now problem
gerg1400 about 3 years ago
Well they are all important. Safety is key, as is cost and as is being humane. As is thinking of the brumby as a heritage element which is not in your thinking here. You can have a bit of all these if you think it though and have a balanced considered approach
InterestedObserver about 3 years ago
Cost and effectiveness go hand in hand. If somethings not affordable, then there's no way it can be undertaken so effectiveness is irrelevent. If somethings affordable but not effective, your wasting your time. Seems to me current controls are not effective and not affordable.
Hide reply (1)
InterestedObserver about 3 years ago
And safety of staff & others is required. Can't even think about it otherwise.Humaneness seems to be something that opposing ends of the spectrum will never agree on...particularly if something is humane and effective. And cheap.
Jindygal about 3 years ago
The safety of NPWS staff and others involved in the activity. The cost of the undertaking the control method. How humane the control method is. The effectiveness of the method to control population numbersYou can't choose one. They inter-relate too much. Safety of staff and humanness are essential, but any method has to be effective, and affordable.The 'humanness at all costs' some people advocate is impossible because the budget is limited. We can't even get that option from our medical system for people. so governments won't fund that approach for a feral animal. We have to be realistic. The quicker a large number of horses are removed, then the more $$s might be available to explore a bigger range of options. The cost of controlling 500 animals is quite different to the cost of bringing 5000 under control. This point seems to have been ignored by successive governments for decades, whilst the environment suffers and the numbers and cost of the exercise increases.When you have a method that is the least costly per animal, effective and humane, and safe (so far) for staff, that is the way to go, even if it does meet opposition from some people. If aerial culling is not permitted for political reasons, then taxpayers will more pay for less effective solutions.
Perplexed about 3 years ago
Again a silly question in my view. There can not be a MOST important factor when making these decision. It needs to be done in a way of looking at all these factors and assessing them and balancing against what the objectives are and what is acceptable in term of safety, cost and humaneness. These are not finite factors in my view and will vary given the situation and circumstances that they need to be applied.
Bega Duncan about 3 years ago
i would like to ask Keith Muir a few questions if he could reply as its not much good making statements if you don't have the answers1 how can you be shore the number of brumbys are correct and not fabricated by parks 2 have you seen this devastation first hand that theses horses are doing 3 if you eliminate the horses does that mean you eliminate of horse riders that are allowed to ride there 4 did u know that parks have tried aerial shooting 3 times that i know off and all have ended up a disaster and that's the ones we no of 5 can you point out where the parks are spending 100s of millions of dollars as stated 6 does the colong foundation pay your wages to comment of theses things 7 have the colong foundation ever looked at the damage that 2million visitors have on the parks lets hope Mr Muir as some answers to his statements if not don't make them
Lee Bish about 3 years ago
1, Safety of NPWS staff2. Effectivness3. Humane Method4. CostI beleive that all involved in management of our natural resources want the most humane methods.I believe that after over 10 years of trapping and rehousing the problem is getting worse.Also that rounding up, confining and transporting these feral animals, traumatises them, and that a high percentage of these have to euthanased anyway.
Hide Replies (2)
Mbidgee about 3 years ago
I'd agree with that order of priorities. The safety of staff is the most important so the staff are not injured and the job can continue. The work must be effective, otherwise it is a waste of resources applied to the job. The cost of the operation is part of the measure of its effectiveness, because funds for pest control are limited. The method used should be humane, but that is so often a value judgement. There is no point having a humane method that is not effective, and society is accepting of pest control methods such as aerial shooting of pigs and goats, so why not for horses ?
Hide reply (1)
Donna about 3 years ago
Humaneness of the method used is a "value judgement"? Wow.
Jenny Norvick about 3 years ago
1. Effectiveness2. Humaneness3. safety of staff4. costIf the job is done effectively, it sorts the problem, hopefully for many years to come, so it is worth doing well, and without cruelty to what are magnificent animals, just becoming an absolute pest and living in the wrong place
Donna about 3 years ago
I have nothing to add except my full agreement with both the HVBA VP & Bio-Brumby's comments. There will never be a circumstance in which humaneness is justifiably measured, and thus reduced, by cost
Hide reply (1)
Themba about 3 years ago
I totally agree with with Donna, and am in full agreement with both HVBA & Bio-Brumby's comments.
SusanK about 3 years ago
The effectiveness of the method to control population numbers
Stromlo about 3 years ago
If the method is not humane, it should not be used and all other questions are irrelevant. All so called "feral" animals were brought here by humans, to do things for humans and then mismanaged by humans. They do not deserve to be punished with inhumane treatment.
Bio-Brumby about 3 years ago
To me all these issues need to be assessed before making any management decision. Then identify the effectiveness/humaneness of each control method and select the most humane method, irrespective of cost.The horses being ‘controlled’ have NO say in the matter, therefore ‘decision makers’ must apply extra diligence & ‘duty of care’ to ensure that the method selected is the most humane, irrespective of the cost, in my view.The safety of those applying the control is a non-issue in that, as NPWS are implementing the control method, it is unlikely they will compromise their own safety. In summary I’d say:-1. Humaneness of the control - First,2. Effectiveness of the control - Second,3. Safety of NPWS is - given, and4. Cost should not influence the control selected.Regards, Bio-Brumby