Why are the Snowy Mountains important to you?

by Catherine Russell, about 3 years ago
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Did you know the Snowy Mountains attract more than 2 million visitors every year? Are you one of them and what brings you to the National Park? 

Richard grew up in the city but has been captivated by the Snowy Mountains.

He shares his story on the people he has met, the landscape he has seen and why the Snowy Mountains are a special place for all Australians.

THIS DISCUSSION IS NOW CLOSED. IT WAS OPEN FOR MORE THAN 40 DAYS. 


Bio-Brumby over 3 years ago
Bio-BrumbyIt seems to me NSW legislation balances conserving nature with conserving cultural values. The second and third objectives of the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 (NSW) focus on conserving cultural value within the landscape. I agree too much of anything, including humans, is problematic and requires management. National Parks are for all Australians to value, experience and enjoy. This includes people who love bush walking, spiritual uplifting, Aboriginal history and post settlement cultural heritage. The act makes a point of conserving both nature and cultural values; therefore we need to retain a reasonable balance of Brumby heritage in the environment they have co-existed with for over 200 years. Where would we be without the contributions Whalers/Brumbies made in past wars, including forfeiting their lives? Only one whaler/Brumby returned to Australia. For my spiritual uplifting, solace and pleasure, our National Parks represent a wild, untamed environment that Brumbies are very much a part of. From Bio-Brumby
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Bush lover over 3 years ago
So, Bio-Brumby, are you saying that because a few horses were once romanticised in old poetry and stories, they now have a cultural value? And because of this we should let a big bunch of nags run rampant over the major alpine area in NSW and destroy it?I cannot see the connection between feral horses in a national park in NSW today and waler horses that were sent overseas 100 years ago. Did the ones sent overseas actually come from this park?
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Bio-Brumby over 3 years ago
Hi Bush Lover, as before, I prefer you to use regular language for horses, not nags. I do not share your inference that romantic poetry and letting Brumbies run rampant are connected. There is significant documentation on why wild horses from NSW were valued. Brumbies are descendants of those sent overseas, especially those in NSW where the name Waler originated from. The Alps terrain is ideal for developing qualities needed to survive on little feed, work long hours and carry heavy loads as needed in army service. We soon forget how indispensable the horse was post settlement and move onto new technology. Are you suggesting their contribution should be ignored? Brumby heritage needs recognition and to have the right to continue as they have for over 200 years. It is back to the numbers issue. Your suggestion to let a big bunch of (Brumbies) run rampant is not constructive. The question is – at what level does a species become overabundant – once identified, manage within that level.Bio-Brumby
youngconservationist over 3 years ago
Biodiversity values trump cultural value under these laws. Plus given the cultural history of this place for aboriginals I can barely see how Brumbies released some 200 years ago even rate a mention. Plus I see personally no cultural heritage in wild horses. I can not think of a single example of a National Park allowing a feral animal to remain for 'cultural' reasons. Can you? Are you aware 'culture' is the reason Japanese use to justify whaling. Culture changes, we need to learn and move on.
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Donna over 3 years ago
It is not supposed to be a case of one 'trumping' the other, there is suppose to be a balance of both biodiversity and cultural history. I'm not sure why you feel a "small number of very loud people" should not be "allowed" to comment here, but somehow your personal opinion that you see no cultural heritage in wild horses is perfectly warranted? The New Forest ponies may be of some interest to you if you've never heard of a wild animal remaining in a National Park for cultural reasons, though inevitably they've also recognised the ecological benefits of horses along the way.
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youngconservationist over 3 years ago
My opinion on no cultural values in wild horses is just that, an opinion. If they debate was on cultural signfcne of horses then my opinion, and yours could be discussed. But National Parks are primarily for natural heritage, under international agreements biodiversity trump cultural values, even though cultural values are recognized. Recreation value are also recognized (I think). Does that mean 4wd, motorbikes, snowmobiles should be allowed everywhere, without restriction or proper management? You are making a value judgment on what you want to see, but what National Parks are is defined in law. If enough people no longer value natural heritage then delist this place as a National Park. Please read these and see which one would include horses roaming free. http://www.iucn.org/about/work/programmes/gpap_home/gpap_quality/gpap_pacategories/ Then we can debate whether we want to turn national parks into say 'Protected Landscape/ Seascape'
youngconservationist over 3 years ago
The New Forest ponies is very closely aligned to ponies that grazed those landscapes for tens of thousands of years. The equivalent of the argument you are putting forward in Australia areas might be the dingo. Dingo's were introduced to Australia 3-6 thousand years ago but I would now argue are equivalent to native, given long history and role as last remaining large predator. These is no equivalent for horses released 200 years ago in an environment that was NEVER grazed by ungulates (horses, sheep, deer, cows).
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Bio-Brumby over 3 years ago
Wow Youngconversationsit, you have dived into this chat room debate with vigour. Glad to see you argue Dingoes are native. I suggest there is a major equivalent to horses and grazing ungulates [Ungulates are a diverse group of large mammals that includes horses, cattle, giraffes, camels, deer, hippopotamuses, whales and dolphins. Most of them use the tips of their toes, usually hoofed, to sustain their whole body weight while moving]. This definition also covers some of Australia's Mega Fauna, so as before I argue that horses are replacing much of the bio-diversity that was produced from grazing by earlier Australian Mega fauna. Regards, Bio-Brumby
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youngconservationist over 3 years ago
Ungulates have a completely different evolutionary history, biology and impact on the environments to large marsupial grazers. A quoll is more closely related to mega-fauna than a cow, horse or a sheep is. In terms of similar ecological role (not evolutionary history) I would argue based on evidence that mega-fauna bred at a much slower rate, and existed at much lower densities compered to modern introduced ungulates. But we are not talking about a place without herbivores. There are many species of native herbivore remaining in the National Park. The role of grazer and browser is filled by native species. If kangaroos, wombats and wallabies were wiped out I would actually agree with bringing in an exotic herbivore. The eastern grey kangaroo is actually considered to be a small version macropus titan - a species of mega-fauna. Hunting (maybe climate) resulted in this species shrinking. So one could argue mega-fauna still graze the park.
Australian Lover about 3 years ago
So at some stage the aboriginals were new the area as well. If there were someone arround with your attitude at that time, we wouldn't have the wonderful aboriginal cluture we now have. All culture starts somewhere and the Brumbies started their culture exactly the same as the aboriginals thousands of years ago. If we stop respecting all the parts of how this great country evolved we don't have any new culture for our next generations to look back to.
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youngconservationist about 3 years ago
Well that make little sense. So brumbies have their own culture? Respecting and acknowledging the past does not mean you have to continue to live it. Most of Australia is not managed as it was under aboriginal ownership but that does not mean the history and culture does not exist. Plus we are talking about a few hundred horses released by a farmer who could not feed them. I feel using the term culture for this debate shows lack of understand of what culture is. Set up a monument to feral horses on your own lands if you would desire to live in some arbitrarily defined moment in history.
youngconservationist about 3 years ago
Well that make little sense. So brumbies have their own culture? Respecting and acknowledging the past does not mean you have to continue to live it. I feel using the term culture for this debate lacks an understanding of what culture is. Set up a monument to feral horses on your own lands if you desire to live in some arbitrarily defined moment in history.
InterestedObserver about 3 years ago
Balancing is hard to do when one impacts on the other. Horses aren't inert pieces of cultural heritage like huts are. Huts can be conserved without competing with or destroying the habitat of native species, but horses can't. If something that falls under the second objective of the legislation prevents the first objective of that same legislation being achieved then it probably isn't consistent with the legislation at all.
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Bio-Brumby about 3 years ago
Hi InterestedObserver, The conservation of nature 2A(1)(a) and cultural value etc 2A(1)(b) are standalone objectives - hence the need for balance.2A(1)(a) the conservation of nature, including, but not limited to, the conservation of: ............2A(1)(b) the conservation of objects, places or features (including biological diversity) of cultural value within the landscape, including, but not limited to: ............... I feel there are many personal values people find up lifting in KNP - maybe we can build on recent comments on this page on a range of legacies to leave for future generations. Regards, Bio-Brumby
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InterestedObserver about 3 years ago
But a) conservation of nature is listed before b) conservation of cultural value making it the primary objective. Secondary objectives that impact upon the primary objective are contrary to the primary objective, and therefore contrary to the legislation.
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Bio-Brumby about 3 years ago
Hi InterestedObserver, There is no indication one objective is dependent on another. The first is 'conservation of nature, including', BUT not limited to...... The other objectives in part (1) follow on, but none suggest they are subject to the first objective; therefore each objective is to be taken as an additional objective. Why have one objective that is contrary to legislation? Interestingly (1)(2) states 'the objectives of this Act are to be achieved by applying the principles of ecologically sustainable development. I am not suggesting that this means Wild Horses should be allowed to increase without management to keep them within limits that cause the landscape to lose robustness, simple pointing out that both can exist, in an ecologically sustainable manner. Regards, Bio-Brumby
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InterestedObserver about 3 years ago
Both objectives can be achieved when the 'items' are independant. However, when the conservation of horses prevents the conservation, or results in the degradation, of natural values it doesn't comply.I don't think ecologically sustainable development was ever supposed to cater for the conservation of pest species. A sustainable population of horses in the park may be possible, but this needs to be sustainable from a 'conservation of natural heritage' perspective, as well as sustainable in terms of economic viability to maintain that 'sustainable population'.
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Bio-Brumby about 3 years ago
Hi InterestedObserver, Yes, each objective is considered on its own merit and 9in my view) where there is conflict we should strive for a balance that enables both objectives are catered for. Such as identify areas in KNP where numbers are overabundant, then humanely reduce the population to a level where the ecology can retain its robustness, as occurs in significant areas of KNP now. Regards, Bio-Brumby
old fella mountain lover over 3 years ago
Richard has eloquently described his love of the mountains in this video. Like him I was born in a big city and moved my family to Canberra in 1970. Soon after I began to visit the high mountains and began my love affair with them through learning about their unique plants and animals, fishing the streams, walking, skitouring and snow camping, taking photos, helping out with invasive weeds, and making friends with some of the old stockmen and women and listening to their stories of mountain life before the national park. They too are connected with country, and treasure the opportunities when given to visit places important to their forebears.The Snowy Mountains are important to me personally because nowhere else do I get the same sense of being uplifted in spirit and the wonder of the beauty of their toughness and fragility.
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Catherine Russell over 3 years ago
Thank you for sharing your love of the Snowy Mountains, Old Fella Mountain Lover.
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Buckrunner over 3 years ago
The mountains have been a holiday place for me and my family with our horses for 26 years and i want my newly started family and I to be able to do the same and have the brumbies still there where they belong for the kids to see.
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Bush lover over 3 years ago
Buckrunner, do you need 10000+ of them for this? Or 20000+ in a few years?When grazing finished, there were only a few hundred. Would you be satisfied with that many?
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Buckrunner over 3 years ago
If they would give us a number of brumbies that are really there we would be able to discuss this. However your 10 000 guess of brumbies is far from justifiable. 100 horses across the whole park wouldn't leave us with much to look at.
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Bush lover over 3 years ago
Since it is such a critical factor in these discussions, I am sure the number of feral horses will be announced as soon as the survey is completed.10,000 horses is the minimum that could be there based on the survey done in 2007, and the low end of the estimated rate of increase since then. Do you have some other evidence of how many horses there are?Are you suggesting that the horses should be left there solely for people to look at, irrespective of the damage they cause?
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Donna over 3 years ago
The survey was conducted in March this year Bush Lover, with results yet to be released. Those of us supporting the brumbies are eagerly awaiting the figure, and have requested it at every meeting or opportunity to no avail. It would appear Parks are holding their trump card to the very end of this consultation process, perhaps hoping we'll become mired in these petty arguments with people who claim to have the knowledge to support their arguments but fail to deliver. They are sadly mistaken.
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Admin Commented Jenny.Bhatai over 3 years ago
The aerial survey will be released shortly. We will be posting it to the site when it’s made available. Please be sure to check back in for further discussion.
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HVBA Vice President over 3 years ago
I wanted to post this in a different discussion thread, but it's now closed, so this is the next best spot.People seem to be getting very caught up in the numbers game about how many horses there are in the park. So I would like show how the same numbers and statistics can be used in different ways to tell different sides of the same story. Admin, I'm not sure why but in the other thread you kept quoting the total number of horses Australia wide, which has no bearing on the kozi management plan, and only confuses people about the number of horses in the KNP. If you are going to quote this number, could you please follow it by the number of horses that are in the KNP, because it certainly isn't close to 400,000. As at 2009, in the alps (including vic which not part of this management plan) it was a tiny 1.9% of that total. From Dawson 2009, " the number of horses in Victoria and NSW (survey areas of 1282 and 1578 km2, respectively) would be an estimated 3442 (± 874 SE) and 4237 (± 1076 SE) respectively." To put that another way, the number of horses affected by this management plan is 1.05% of the total Australian wild horse population. This doesn't mean that they matter any less, we just need to get some perspective on the number of horses we are talking about. According to Dawson, there are 2.6 horses per km2, so 1 horse every 95 acres (or 38.5 hectares). The DPI suggests that in Native, unimproved, low fertility or country dominated by Poa Tussock the carrying capacity would be 1 horse for every 8 hectares (PRIMEFACT 525), this means that the land is currently only at 20% of its carrying capacity.There are lots of ways to spin these numbers to make them seem more or less appealing, but claims that the numbers would reach 200,000 in 10 years are just ludicrous and incorrect even based on Dawson’s inflated rate of increase. It is also worth noting that Dawson's report was conducted before the 2008 management plan had been implemented and the predictions were based on an unmanaged population. These predictions now cannot be relied upon due to the fact that there have been horses humanely removed from the park over the past 5 years. There are of course other issues with these predictions. The biggest being the number used as the starting population was counted after a catastrophic natural event (bush fire) and as such was unnaturally low. It also makes no sense to use this number because it only confounds the results by suggesting that this is a normal rate of increase when we know that, although the population is initially cut down after a fire, populations of large ungulates are then positively affected due to the increase of available food, and reproductive rates are known to increase for several years after fire, before eventually evening out to pre-fire levels.If we instead use the 2001 data as the starting point for the kozi population, we see that over the 8 year period, the population has increased from 5200 horses across the alps, to 7679 horses an increase of 2479 horses or 310 horses (or 4.99%, not 21.65%) per year across the alps. If we use the proportions given by Dawson (above) of 55% of horses in the alps are found on the NSW side of the border, we find that the increase for the KNP is 170.5 horses per year. This is a very reasonable number to target for trapping and removal each year in order to halt population growth. Of course these numbers will change with the release of the new report, and they don’t take into account the large overlap in standard error, but it does show that by using the same numbers, just a different analysis, you can tell a very different story about the number of horses in the KNP, and that is something everyone should think about whenever they see any statistics.Here is some research that questions the 21% growth rate for wild horse populations as requested in the earlier thread. http://protectmustangs.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/PM-Population-Growth-4.25.14-FINAL.pdf
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Donna over 3 years ago
Bravo Kath!! Wonderful to see someone approaching this in an analytical manner and providing both sides of the same story.
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HVBA Vice President over 3 years ago
Hi Donna,This is actually Madison, the Vice president, Thankyou for your comments :)
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Donna over 3 years ago
Sorry about that Madison, teach me to read a bit better tho lol ;)
Bio-Brumby over 3 years ago
Hi HVBA Vice President,Thanks for your objective, well presented information and the useful link you posted above. Regards Bi0-Brumby
nicole over 3 years ago
Hi HVBA Vice President, thanks for giving us your analysis of the numbers being discussed within these forums. You are correct that we did discuss the number of wild horses Australia-wide in one of the earlier forums, however this was in the context of a question asked by another commenter about the impact of introduced species within the wider Australian ecosystem. We agree that interpretation of data can be subjective, and like most contributors to this forum we look forward to the release of the latest population data, which we will provide as soon as it is available.
Perplexed over 3 years ago
Thanks HVBA for a logical and well thought out opinion on the issue of numbers and population statistics, and I acknowledge your points are well made and without hysteria and undue emotion. You make the point that people should think about how the statistics may be interpreted by the counterpoints in this discussion and debate. I agree with you it should not just be a discussion about numbers, it should be a discussion about impact. Further it should be a discussion about the appropriateness of that impact in an area set aside for native species and native ecosystem function and conservation. It will however be interesting and I look forward to seeing, somewhat with dismay, as to the most recent population survey estimates once they are released. With dismay because I have seen first hand the steady rise in horse numbers in Kosciuszko over the last 20 years, and I don't need a aerial survey to convince me of that or where the population is heading despite parks hands tied behind their backs attempts to turn it around.I think that we need to remember however that the objectives of management for the national park are, or should be, for natural and native ecosystem function, and we should be careful if we start equating it to agricultural systems and carrying capacities that you quote from the DPI PRIMEFACT sheet. Whilst it may be a good starting point for such discussions and a reference point, managing for wildlife and native ecosystem function and resilience, and managing for primary production outcomes can be very different things. Not I grant you that they necessarily need to be always mutually exclusive, but in many instances very hard to achieve both, on the same patch of dirt. Particularly where our Australian ecosystems have evolved in the absence of hard hoofed grazers. Think about why farmers fence their stock off riparian zones and sensitive wet areas of their farm, or at least should be doing this. Pretty hard to try and implement that kind of micro management regime in a landscape and scale like Kosciuszko. You have to ask the question should parks really be expected too anyway in this case, given we are talking about a introduced species (Equus caballus) that is not vulnerable, threatened or endangered either locally, nationally or for that matter internationally.Maybe that is why the fact that there are an estimated 400,000 feral horses in Australia alone is an important fact and statistic one needs to to consider and keep in mind and not dismiss from this discussion. That is not even taking into account the very same species, Equus caballus are in their hundreds of thousands in paddocks, stables, race tracks all across Australia and the world. At an even more fundamental level if we are considering things rationally I would encourage people to to make some other broader higher level considerations. We need to ask ourselves what our national parks, conservation reserves and wilderness areas are there for? Is the ongoing sustainable management of a common introduced species really a compatible objective we should strive for in these areas? Is this what we should be spending our scarce tax dollars and resources on, trying to sustainably manage a introduced species in preference our threatened and endangered native heritage? Or maybe this could be achieved in another more appropriate area where their presence is not threatening our unique Australian alpine and sub alpine native flora and fauna, that has nowhere else to go once their habitat is lost and altered? Maybe one of the many already degraded and already grazed private freehold paddocks across the Monaro full of serrated tussock and African lovegrass is a better option?And as for arguments from others that the horses preceded the creation of the national park so therefore retain some intrinsic right to remain there, where would we be with applying that same logic and sentiment to rabbits, deer, foxes, wild dogs, pigs, goats and every other introduced species threatening our native heritage?If we were talking about conserving Przewalkski horses on the Mongolian steppes, I would be in full agreement with you. But we are not.
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Bio-Brumby over 3 years ago
From Bio-BrumbyInteresting concepts put forward by Localboy - I offer responses to two of them;1.In reply to Appropriateness of impacts for native species/ecosystems, why national parks and agricultural vs national park management;National Park legislation balances conserving nature with conserving cultural values. The 2nd & 3rd National Parks & Wildlife Act 1974 (NSW) objectives focus on cultural values. Since National Parks are for the benefit of all Australians, conserving both natural & cultural values is important. Native species have co-existed with Brumbies over 200 years and still do in many park areas in a balance that retains ecosystem resilience and biodiversity. Cowambat exclusion zones are an example of how grazing increases species richness and bio-diversity. Inside the zones grow, tall, tough dry grass bio-mass on bare soil. Outside the zones grow nutrient rich, fresh green grass in a bio-diverse landscape. Brumbies and bio-diversity can complement each other while populations are in balance. Too many kangaroos, Brumbies & humans etc. create problems for weak species. We should research the level each population can maintain before overabundance lowers resilience and bio-diversiy. Manage the identified level so grazing can continue to benefit native species (per Cowambat exclusion zones). 2.In reply to Equus caballus in paddocks across Australia;Brumbies are a unique breed of equus caballus having evolved by natural selection over 200 years in Australia. Domestic equus caballus, in particular race horses, are breed to specific human ‘likes’ which result in low genetic diversity and inherited weakness. Brumbies have broad genetic diversity by breeding from natural selection/survival of the fittest, as do other species living wild. Brumbies are especially sentient animals with unique social family mob structures that enable them to teach learned survival skills to new generations. Brumbies also supported Australians in wars, farming, transport etc prior to mechanism. These are some of the reasons why many in the community strive to conserve the Brumbies cultural and social values - reasons that do not apply to paddock equus caballus.Bio-Brumby
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Bush lover over 3 years ago
Bio-Brumby, I am interested in your claim that native species have co-existed with feral horses over 200 years. This does not mean there have not been detrimental effects on the native species. Humans have co-existed with many species over thousands of years. Unfortunately, due to "feral humans" (ie, settlers), many of these native species are now extinct……Could you please provide a reference for your statements about the Cowambat exclusion zones? Did it comment on the quality of the vegetation inside and outside the zones in terms of closeness to original vegetation before it had been modified by feral animal presence?I question your claim of high genetic quality for these nags. Do you have a reference that supports this claim?A friend of mine who has worked in the horse industry for 20 years, on studs and elsewhere, has a different view. On a visit to Long Plain, she observed horses with mis-shapen heads and other genetic problems resulting from inbreeding. Yes there may be some good strains, but there are obviously a lot of bad ones as well.
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Donna over 3 years ago
It honestly saddens me to see someone spreading such misinformation Bush Lover, but it also makes me quite frustrated that your input is allowed to continue, particularly when you're being intentionally inflammatory.As to the ignorance of your claims of genetic deformities and inbreeding, I urge you once again to do further research and inform yourself prior to publicly degrading these horses. Should you decide to do so you will find research proving very little evidence of inbreeding in brumby groups and strong genetics.
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Bush lover over 3 years ago
Donna, thank you for your feedback. Could you please describe in what way I have been spreading misinformation?As for the genetic question, I make no claim to knowing anything about horse genetics. I am relating observations from an experienced horse breeder. There is also a comment here somewhere from a horse supporter stating that some of the horses have genetic deformities and recommending that culling should take those horses and leave the rest. Clearly, at least some people believe there are genetic problems.
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Donna over 3 years ago
Gladly. From your over inflated estimates of current horse numbers to the predicted impact of current herds if left without management for 10 years, to your statement calling the brumbies 'nags' and suggestions of inbreeding and deformity, you have continued to perpetuate unfounded and highly erroneous information throughout this process and on just about every discussion point thus far. You continually insist others do not use anecdotal evidence or hearsay as support for their arguments, yet you go on to recount the observations of others in support of your own beliefs. You refer constantly to data that is highly contentious and questionable, only to then claim the same data cannot be relied upon to show the numbers may not be as high as it suggests after taking into account factors such as fires. To be blunt, it's apparent to me personally that you are taking part in this process in order to antagonise others and confuse the situation with incorrect information. Your statements leave no doubt about your personal feelings toward the horses presence in the park and your intent to retain those feelings regardless of any information to the contrary.
Bio-Brumby over 3 years ago
Hi Bush Lover - Is your reference to settlers causing native species to become extinct related to Brumbies? If so I am interested which species have become extinct in the KNP. To me, co-existing means to the mutual benefit of the ecosystem. We are back to the numbers issue. Agree an overabundance of any species, native or introduced, can have a detrimental effect on weaker species. Agree humans are most aggressive as top predicator. The question is – at what level does a species become overabundant – once identified, manage within that level. Re your Cowambat exclusion zones query. My source for earlier comments was a scientific NPWS staff member at the site. Your query on closeness to original vegetation is not something I can answer, maybe Admin can? However when I asked NPWS - is the bio-mass of dry tall grass on bare ground what they actually want to return to, the answer was no, and that increased biodiversity outside the zones (grazed) was of greater benefit to native species that inside the zone.Re your comments on genetic quality for these ‘nags’ (I have assumed your use of the word nags, instead of horses, follows the definition ‘nicest and greatest’ from a long list of definition options - but would prefer you keep to more regular language). The Brumbies social life is designed to maximise survival qualities i.e. expand their genetic base. I recognise any species can become inbred when their numbers are severely restricted. Your horse stud friend would be looking for stud qualities, not Brumby qualities. Survival of the fittest in Brumbies tends to favour shorter neck and back and sturdy legs. Combined with unreliable feed it becomes difficult for people with domestic horse experience to comprehend. Your friend’s domestic horses are unlikely to survive where Brumbies live. The Brumby on the day it leaves the wild looks very different to the same Brumby that is ridden a few months later. From Bio-Brumby
Bush lover over 3 years ago
Some very good points, Localboy, although I do not agree that HVBA's figures are accurate - see my comments below.
Bush lover over 3 years ago
I do not really know why you are talking about the numbers of horses Australia-wide. Is it so you can use really small percentages to describe the problem in Kosciusko NP?Lets's look at a few of your statements.You say the alps contain 1.9% of the feral horses in Australia. For those who did not calculate it, that is 7600 horses, a fairly large number.You say that there are 7679± horses in the Australian Alps, of which 4237 are in NSW. You say the management plan only affects this number of horses. I guess you do not know that the NSW part of the Australian Alps is not the same as Kosciusko NP. The Alps are a particular landform of which some is in KNP, some is in ACT and some may actually be outside both. There is also a lot of KNP that is not a part of the Australian Alps. So that means this estimate of the number of horses covered by the management plan is meaningless in this discussion. All of your subsequent calculations depend on this fact, so they are also incorrect as they underestimate the number of horses in KNP by maybe 80%.If you want to know how many horses were in KNP in 2009, a document on this very site says an aerial survey estimated it at 7000.You say that using population data shortly after a major catastrophic event (bushfire) was a bad starting point, as the population would have been artificially low. You then go on to suggest that the population difference between 2001 and 2009 gives a truer indication of the rate of increase. Doh! There was a major catastrophic event (bushfire) in the middle of your calculation period. Don't you think that that may give an artificially low rate of increase for any calculation that spans it?You quote PRIMEFACT 525 saying "DPI suggests that in Native, unimproved, low fertility or country dominated by Poa Tussock the carrying capacity would be 1 horse for every 8 hectares (PRIMEFACT 525)" but you do not state that this applies only to the Northern Slopes of NSW, a very different environment than alpine country. PRIMEFACT is also talking about open fields where the whole area is available for grazing. A very large part of KNP inhabited by horses is thick scrub with little grass for horses to eat. So even if the figures above were appropriate, they would not be meaningful in this context.You say that according to the above estimate, the land is at only 20% of its carrying capacity. Is this relevant? Are you proposing that the park be farmed?But let's also look at some other information in the PRIMEFACT that you did not mention."Horses are wasteful grazers. They selectively graze pastures, damaging parts of the pasture by overgrazing and leaving other parts of the pasture tall and rank and relatively unacceptable.""Allow horses to graze the pasture. After they have grazed the paddock to 2.5 cm in height over 20 percent of the paddock, remove the horses. Slash or mulch the paddock and harrow the manure. Wait until the pasture is 10 cm in height before regrazing." So the park needs to be slashed and then rested from horses to retain its stocking capacity?"The rotation of clean pastures, in conjunction with a good parasite control program, will help to discourage parasites and diseases." So the horses are spreading parasites and diseases in the park as well?"Keep horses out of the pasture during extreme wet weather to prevent 'pugging' of the soil with hooves.""Horses do not like to graze where there is horse manure." Humans do not like to walk through, camp near and eat near horse manure either. They also do not like to drink out of or wash in streams polluted with horse manure.I could go on, but the requirements for satisfactory horse grazing stated in the PRIMEFACT clearly indicate that alpine wilderness is not suitable.
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Bush lover over 3 years ago
I wish to apologise to HVBA Vice President for the manner of my comments here. They are far too personal, and if I was still able to edit them, I would have. (People who wish to preserve the Snowies can get as passionate as do people who wish to preserve horses.)Even though badly phrased, the points raised are valid.I will try to be more careful in future.
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HVBA Vice President over 3 years ago
No harm done Bush Lover, its great you care so much about the Snowies. I think you have also helped to prove my point a little, numbers and statistics can be used to support whatever point you would like, that is why I believe the discussion would be better served being directed at what we can actually DO about it. I am an environmental scientist, a zoology major, a conservation ecology minor. I LOVE the environment, I understand fully how precious the Australian alpine environment is. I get it, I truely do. Obviously, as the Vice president of an organisation dedicated to the protection and promotion of Australia's wild horses, I also love the horses. I do not believe these are two mutually exclusive positions. Although I understand they are an introduced species, I would like to see the horses remain in the park because I think the add value to the park. I believe, unfortunately, people have done a pretty crappy job in the past of both introducing animals to an environment, and trying to remove them from it. We tend to just make things so much worse. But I also believe we have to try to manage the wild horses population so that they don’t become unsustainable, (here is some good research that explains why management and not eradication is a more realisitic objective in an environment such as this - http://www.southwestnrm.org.au/sites/default/files/uploads/ihub/bomford-m-obrien-1995-eradication-or-control-vertebrate-pests.pdf) but I do not ever believe in the suffering of one creature for the sake of another. The horses did not ask to be put there, and I think it is wrong for them to suffer just so we can attempt to change an action committed over 200 year ago. So I want the management tools we choose to be the most humane practices there is, not the cheapest or the fastest or the most convenient, but the most humane. I want to make sure people consider all sides of the argument because it can be very easy to be manipulated if you don’t have all the information. I don’t want to see the horse number getting out of control and becoming a road hazard and see horses getting hit by traffic. I don’t want to see the food become so scarce because the capacity of the land has been so exceeded that the horses are dying of starvation. I DO want to be able to see the Iconic Wild Bush Horses from The Man from Snowy River when I go to the alps and I want to be able to enjoy all the other wonders of this iconic landscape at the same time. I am an optimist and believe we CAN have it all. We are an intelligent species and if we just work together we should be able to come up with a solution. Like Localboy, I believe a discussion needs to be had about the impacts the horses are actually having. This is so that we can discuss areas that could be targeted for complete removal, those which require management only and those which do not require any management. Practical solutions need to be put forward so we can stop the arguing about whose fault it is and get on with trying to make our alpine environment a more sustainable place. As you have noted below, I have shown that there are also some difficulties in assessing the impacts the horses are having, just as there are difficulties in assessing the effectiveness of the current program. I believe this is a design flaw with the previous management plan because it did not set any targets. I think that has left room for a lot of distrust by some that KNP rangers were trying to remove all that they could "behind peoples backs", and also a lot of distrust that they ‘weren't doing enough’. I think this is a shame because in my experience the KNP rangers have done an excellent job implementing the current management plan. The horses are humanely treated, as many as possible that can be rehomed are, and the rest are destroyed in the best option available at the time. This doesn't mean there isn't room for improvement, but I think it was working well in those respects. We have to wait for the release of the next count to see the impact it was having on the controlling the population growth, but at this stage, with what I can evaluate, everyone was doing a pretty good job. Lets move the discussion towards what we can do to improve these methods, I think the first place to start is with setting a realistic removal target, and a percentage from that which should be rehomed, they really do make such fantastic ridden horses its a shame for them to go to waste. We also need to have a serious discussion about the humaness of aerial culling, because I think (apart from the complete extinction of the Snowy Mountain Brumby) this is what most horse advocates are most scared of. We do not want to see the foals of culled mares starving to death out there all alone, and we do not want to ever again see pictures of a mare that has been shot 7 times and still not died days after the cull. Most will agree that the concept of aerial culling in its perfect form can be humane, but in real life, with all the variables that are involved, it is about the most terrifying thing that can happen to these ponies. This is where I would like the conversation to go, because I think getting bogged down in the numbers game really helps noone. I can't wait for the release of the new count, but only so I can hear the numbers, see if there has been a change and then use that to respond with solutions, the actual numbers are really neither here nor there. We have to manage the population no matter what they are, its just a matter of how.
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Bio-Brumby over 3 years ago
Hi HVBA Vice President, a well balanced summary of the emotional and realistic issues to be addressed for overall conservation of KNP. Thanks you - from Bio-Brumby
HVBA Vice President over 3 years ago
I know this is from ages ago and we have probably all moved on, but I was re-reading this and I wanted to answer some of the questions raised.1. I was talking about the numbers of horses Australia wide because Admin kept quoting this number to people on several discussion topics when asked about horse numbers. I saw this answer given several times and its funny that you asked if it was only given so I could use small percentages deflate the issue, I asked admin if they were using it to inflate it. We are back to my point that numbers can be used however you want.2. 7600 horses is the number used to calculate the %, it came from Michelle Dawsons 2009 Aerial Survey, and is infact the number we should have always been quoting when talking about the number of horses in the park, because it was all we knew. We should have been saying "as at 2009 there were an estimated 7600 horses across the alps". Instead everyone was saying "by 2014 it is estimated that there will be 13000 horses in the alps"....ahhhhhh everyone freakout and start shooting whatever horse you see..ok poetic licence there, but again using numbers to gain an advantage.3. The document on this website takes its 7000 from the count done by Michelle Dawson in 2009, that is the only aerial survey that had been done up until the recent one (correct me if I'm wrong Admin). That's the same place that I got my numbers from, and this is exactly my point, I can use the same document to tell a very different story. If you read that report you will find that I am correct in my calculations, I was writing alps because I'm lazy and I just get sick of trying to spell Kosciusko all the time, Sorry.4.As for the PRIMEFACT, I'm not suggesting that we farm the alps, or that this is a perfect way to assess the impact, but if we started from there, we wouldn't expect any real impacts in this sort of "farm" country (I believe unmanaged native pasture describes the plains in kozi pretty well), so why should there be impacts now. How does this land differ, what is its carrying capacity, how many horses could live there before causing any damage. That's exactly the sort of questions we should be asking.I hope that clears things up a little. I also wanted to mention that I haven't been wanting to comment on the new 2014 figures until the real report comes out and I can again perform my own calculations on those numbers. But as they stand, my calculations are currently still within the given standard error. I calculated a little over 5000 horses in the KNP by 2014, we have been told between 4000 and 8000, yes I was at the bottom end of the range, but I was still within it (and actually closer to the mean than the lower error bar) and its along way from the predicted 13000. Yes its a ridiculously big range, but we all knew this wasn't ever going to be the most accurate way to count horses, just like its not exactly the most accurate way to shoot them.
Themba over 3 years ago
HVBA Vice President,Thank you for providing a very comprehensive and analytical projection of the numbers. I am mystified though why 5 people have voted "Disagree" with your comments. Is it because it displays a realistic analysis of the estimated numbers of wild horse rather than the "20,000 horses over-running the park" argument some people have been using??
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RobM over 3 years ago
I figure the 20000 figure is extrapolation from 2009. ".Projection based on 21.65% annual population growth since last population count in 2009 per Dawson, M. (2009) 2009 Aerial Survey of Feral Horses in the Australian Alps, Australian Alps Liaison Committee, Canberra. Numbers for 2001, 2003 and 2009 are actual population counts. Number for 2012, 2016 and 2020 are estimates. The actual population count is an under-estimate because the full population was not surveyed. As numbers reach their carrying capacity in same areas, the rate of increase may reduce. See Axford, J., Dawson, M. and Brown, D. (2013) The Ecology of Wild Horses and their Environmental Impact in the Victorian Alps: Background Paper 1 of 3, Parks Victoria, May.from the ISC http://invasives.org.au/feral-animal-control/80000-feral-horses-for-australian-alps/
InterestedObserver about 3 years ago
Are you catering for native species in the park with that carrying capacity?The problem with the horse population is that it is unnaturally high now. Ignoring the fact that 60% of the horses were killed in 2003 ignores their capacity to breed at up to 21% per annum (widely published) when conditions are suitable, as apparently occurred between 2003 and 2009. And with the latest estimate being 6000 horses in NSW, you'd have to remove at least 1000 horses per year to START to slowly reduce the population, givrn that a reduction in that number would likely permit the remaining horses to breed at close to 21% pa.
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Donna about 3 years ago
Regardless of which 'count' you choose to use, there has never been evidence of the horses breeding at the rate of 21% pa, no matter how widely reported the figure has been. Funny thing that, the way we always read or hear someone using that figure in the media etc, yet when speaking with the rangers themselves at meetings, they admit it has never been that high and that is the high end of the 'spectrum'!
Mountain Man over 3 years ago
Meanwhile the figures are now out and you are way off the mark. As low as 3890 and up to 8000 brumbies in KNP. 305 clusters of horses were found with an average of 6 horses per cluster which only amounts to 1830 horses AND this is including Byadbo wilderness which has not been counted before so therefore if Byadbo was not included there would be even less horse numbers. This merely demonstrates the propaganda and absurd statements by anti horse groups. NPWS has also now acknowledged that since the 2003 & 2006 fires the wilderness areas have thickened up so much that it has pushed the brumbies into country that concentrates many of them in smaller areas to make it look like there are more horses, but there are not. This in turn makes it a whole park management issue particularly the fire management (or NON fire management). The Australia bush needs fire to be maintained just like a lawn needs mowing. NPWS put the fires out so large herbivores can assist to keep the bush open in some areas. This is happening in Europe for the same reason. (Horses are being released in reserves).It has also been reported recently by ANU researchers that there has NOT been any peer reviewed studies or research of any kind in this country to inconclusively state that any impacts from brumbies are significant. All so called evidence is purely anecdotal and mostly written by bureaucrats.If brumbies do in fact cause significant damage, how did the mountains get declared a National Park in the first place since the brumbies (and cattle) were in existance for 120 years prior and then get declared additional pristine status of wilderness after 150 years of brumbies? And since then again gained World Heritage status. Can someone please answer that?
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InterestedObserver about 3 years ago
I can't answer that. But I doubt many of the areas occupied by horses would be declared wilderness if looked at now.We may have a case to answer with the people responsible for world heritage listing too. On that, though. I'd suggest the Great Barrier reef would have had some crown of thorns starfish when it was declared World Heritage. Should that not be controlled?The surveys seem to suggest that there are actually more horses, despite what NPWS has 'acknowledged'.The australian bush should not be maintained like a lawn. Horses might prefer it that way, but that's notit's natural state.
Buckrunner over 3 years ago
Admin, You don't seem to give comment to the people against the culling of the brumbies is this for reason or is it a one sided discussion.
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Themba over 3 years ago
Buckrunner,My thoughts as well, I notice positive comments and encouragement for those people advocating the culling of the brumbies and complete silence from Admin for any people against the culling. I am very disappointed in the moderation so far.
Brumby voice over 3 years ago
Yes, Snowy Mountains are important to me for their wide open spaces and sense of freedom, their pioneering heritage and culture and their biological diversity. What worries me however is the continual mantra from NPWS and supporters, this video portrays, that the Brumby is damaging the sphagnum bogs. This damage is never quantified. I ask how many bogs have disappeared because of the Brumby or how many streams have stopped flowing?The Threatened Species Scientific Committee (2008/9) advice to the Federal Environment Minister states "....the 2003 fires burnt 68% of KNP. All major bog and fen sites were impacted to varying degrees with 15% completely destroyed.......all those impacted bogs are now subject to post-fire disturbance impacts such as increased erosion and heightened susceptibility to weed invasion". The CSIRO conclude that complete regeneration and restoration of biodiversity values from wildfires will take many decades in sphagnum bogs. Brumbies do not go into bogs but selectively graze around them. Any alleged impact is very short term and non permanent. In the total scheme of things the alleged Brumby impacts within KNP pale into insignificance when compared to widfires,weeds, predatory animals, native animals and the natural elements of wind, rain,snow, ice, droughts and floods.After 180 years there is no evidence of the Brumby causing extinction of any of the biodiversity within KNP. In fact the Brumby should now be considered a "keystone" species that contributes positively to the complex web of species within the KNP ecosystem.
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Trampled over 3 years ago
There is no need for a long debate about the impacts that horses have on wildlife, streams and invasive plants. Most of this is documented in the links provided on this have-your-say website. There really is no question of the enormous negative environmental impacts that horses are having in the Australian High Country. The question is not, do horses damage the environment, the science in is, and they do. The question is, are we willing to see the natural values of Kosciuszko National Park degrade so that horses can have free roam? My answer is certainly not. Horses should be in paddocks in the lowlands. Australian native species should be flourishing in our wildlands.
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HVBA Vice President over 3 years ago
There is actually a very large need for a debate on the impacts wild horses have on the alps environment, and this is due to an interesting bias in the current research that is available. Take the below work by Prober and Thiele (2007) as an example. This study investigated the effect over the period 1999 to 2005 of exclosure from horses on the floristic community in the Australian Alps. While it found a significant increase in vegetation height, it found no significant effects of exclosure on shrub numbers or on shrub or litter cover, and no eucalypt seedlings in any exclosed plot. Effects of exclosure on species richness were not significant (P>0.05) for any species group, there was a significantly (P=0.018) lower total richness and a decline (P =0.065) in herb richness, suggesting that exclosure from grazing is beginning to reduce the local richness of the vegetation. At one site they found a decline of several native species and an increase of some exotic species but no significant change in weed richness/abundance overall. The effects on bare ground were not significant. The Authors cautioned the findings of this six year study as “preliminary” and concluded that “The floristic plots at both sites are beginning to show differences between grazed and ungrazed treatments, and should be maintained”. On the other hand it would be equally possible to conclude that horse grazing does not have a significant effect on the vegetation composition at these sites. This definitely needs further discussion.http://australianalps.environment.gov.au/publications/research-reports/pubs/feral-horses-impact-report-2007.pdf
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Bush lover over 3 years ago
This is very interesting, HVBA Vice President. However it is hard to see where you draw your second last sentence from. Having just stated in the sentence before it that the sites are beginning to show differences, you then somehow conclude that horses have no effect.What seems likely from the study is that in these slow growing areas, it takes more than just a few years for the differences to become apparent. Just look at the state of the park after the 2003 fires. It will be 50 years or more before these landscapes recover to what they were before the fires. It seems likely that a reasonable number of years will be required to really be clear on the effects of feral horses on vegetation composition.I would add further that in assessing the effect of any animal, a holistic approach is needed. Vegetation composition is only one aspect. Other issues would include vegetation quality, water quality, effect on native animals, fish and insects, erosion, soil composition, and so on.
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HVBA Vice President over 3 years ago
Bush Lover my second last sentence comes from all above it. "no significant effects of exclosure on shrub numbers or on shrub or litter cover, and no eucalypt seedlings in any exclosed plot. Effects of exclosure on species richness were not significant (P>0.05) for any species group, there was a significantly (P=0.018) lower total richness and a decline (P =0.065) in herb richness". I agree a more holistic approach is required, unfortunately there is not actually a lot of research out there. The constant problem for researchers, so much to research, so little money...
Themba over 3 years ago
It doesn't matter how long the study lasts from it is the fact that this type of study is being conducted! To say "get rid of all the horses" without looking at the possible consequences is total madness!! To see that this study found an actual decline in several native species and an increase of some exotic species is of particular interest. As a lover of the bush I would have thought you would find this of interest? Or is it that you are so concentrated on the total removal of the wild horses that you turned a blind eye to that part??
Mountain Man over 3 years ago
Bush LoverYou state 'Other issues would include vegetation quality, water quality, effect on native animals, fish and insects, erosion, soil composition, and so on."Please qualify your evidence. Where is the relevent peer reviewed research? ANU researchers stated publicly recently there is none...Are we to just believe you? Are we to believe NPWS reports from bureacrats because they said so?Water Quality - how is the water quality adversely affected ? certainly compared to the same runoff after the Snowy Scheme was built or ski resorts (particularly their sewage works and runoffs) or bushfire sediment?Native animals - Which native animal (or Flora) has become extinct because of 170 years of brumbies?Fish? Insects? certainly hasn't reduced the march flies.Erosion and soil composition- Can you please name an area that has required restoration works or revegetation because of proven brumby damage?
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InterestedObserver about 3 years ago
Maybe if the horses were removed, areas could then be rehabilitated. No point undertaking the works if the horses will continue to damage the area.I think extinction etc is more of a cumulative result of a number of issues, horses being one that can be easily managed. How many species have we lost without realising it? Which species are you happy to lose because of horse impacts combined with factors like climate change, habitat loss to other things like ski resorts etc
RobM over 3 years ago
that report is an interesting read in its entirety..wrt to vegetation change the authors caution "Note that this change, from a close-cropped, relatively species-rich sward to a taller,potentially less diverse one, cannot necessarily be seen as a negative trend, as the vegetation may be moving to a state similar to its pre-European, pre-disturbance condition. The lower-growing herbs may naturally have occurred on higher ground amongst more open vegetation and have ‘invaded’ the swampy flats as a result of feral horse grazing. However, no historical benchmarks are available against which the present vegetation can be compared."and identify the following as a limitation"The ecosystem has already been modified by past horse, sheep and cattle grazing.It remains possible that species sensitive to grazing have been lost from the system, and return of these species may be unlikely even after grazing is removed."and then WRT hydrology"Stream structure and function Changes to stream structure and function as a result of exclosure were more striking than changes to vegetation composition. The fenced stream segments were significantly shallower, with less streambank pugging and slumping than the unfencedsegments. Visually, the unfenced (grazed) stream segments were more entrenched and had distinct, open water channels, while many of the fenced (ungrazed) segments had very indistinct channels, a more or less complete vegetation cover across the channel (of species such as Carex gaudichaudiana, Ranunculus pimpinellifolius and Hydrocotyle spp.) and no or little visible open water. The extra vegetation in the fenced segments and lack of an open water channel suggests that water flow along the stream may be slower in the ungrazed segments.Scaled to a catchment level, this suggests that feral horse grazing may be impacting significantly on stream and catchment hydrology, and this may be greater than their impact on the vegetation further from the streambank. However, further data from larger-scale studies throughout the catchment would be required to confirm this"and ftr the other two limitations the authors caution to have in mind when looking at the results are"Landscape scale effects that might occur if feral horses are excluded from the entire region, such as changes in broad-scale hydrology and changes to populations of other grazers, may not occur under the conditions of the experiment.Conversely, localised effects observed in this study may not translate across the landscape.2. Unusually high levels of grazing by other herbivores could occur on the exclosed plots, leading to a smaller effect than might be expected if horses were excluded over a larger area. However, such effects were not apparent in 2005."
DM over 3 years ago
Brumby Voice, have you ever actually been into the wilderness areas to see what is happening? In April this year, I walked for five days through untracked bush in the Pilot Wilderness area. I had been told that there were lots of horses, but I was really shocked to see what they have done.For the whole six days and 80km we walked, we could hardly go a few metres without standing in, smelling or seeing piles of horse dung. This was even in thick scrub where we could only manage 1 km/hour, yet feral horses had been there in large numbers.At Omeo Flat, an open grassy area surrounded by scrub, there were dustbowls where the horses had rolled around, dustbowls that subsequently filed with water when it rained, and were the source of erosion channels. The beautiful creek that ran across the middle of the flat, once half a metre wide, was now a trampled bog up to 5 metres wide. Piles of dung metres across were dotted about the place, providing ideal growing for any weeds around.The Berrima River, a beautiful little river in the middle of the scrub, had its banks broken down and trampled by horses criss-crossing it. Increased erosion - of course!Lagoons near the Ingeegoodbee River were all trampled down, muddy bogs in places, delicate water plant communities struggling to survive.Fire damage there may have been in the past, but the bush needs time to recover. It cannot do that while feral animals like horses, pigs and deer are allowed to roam over the area with no controls and in ever-increasing numbers.The Snowy Mountains are important to me for the wilderness nature of the area, the chance to be amongst ancient trees and woodlands, to see natural streams with sphagnum and other delicate plants in a pristine state. They are a place where I can escape the pressures of civilisation for a few days, to experience what aboriginal people experienced in their travels across this amazing area. The way things are going with the horses, it is hard to say what it will look like in five years. Will I want to go there then? We'll see.
youngconservationist over 3 years ago
I am very concerned about allowing a small number of very loud people to clog this debate. National Parks have clear definition (at end), that preclude horses or other feral animals being allowed to run free and trash the place. Horses belong on farms, and in Mongolia. This issue should not even be up for public comment, control of feral species its obligated under environmental law, and international agreements. The vast majority of Australians supported National Parks been established across this country. If you want to delist these parks and make them horse paddocks, then we need a national vote. Otherwise horses have no place here, or in any protected area in Australia. Definition: "Large natural or near natural areas set aside to protect large-scale ecological processes, along with the complement of species and ecosystems characteristic of the area, which also provide a foundation for environmentally and culturally compatible spiritual, scientific, educational, recreational and visitor opportunities. Primary objective To protect natural biodiversity along with its underlying ecological structure and supporting environmental processes, and to promote education and recreation."
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Donna over 3 years ago
Thankfully for those of us among the "small number of very loud people", we live in a democracy and as such, need no permission to take part in a public debate. You appear to be confused that the intent of these discussions is to take all aspects of the issue into consideration, and all views, culminating in a management plan to ensure horses aren't allowed to "run free and trash the place".It's unfortunate you choose to believe only one side of the issue should be heard or listened to.
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youngconservationist over 3 years ago
Its about National Parks which has clear definitions, no beliefs required. The only discussion should be about how to control impact of horses.
Khankhan about 3 years ago
Interesting to hear from Adrian as a skier. There is a lot of debate going on both about the feral horses and this site on http://forums.ski.com.au/xf/threads/brumbies-knp-management-plan-review.67466/ . I suggest Admin. and other readers give it a look. Skiers have not so far had a lot to say on this forum, but I am glad to see that many are watching it, have concerns about feral horse numbers in KNP and are discussing the issue within their circles.
RobM over 3 years ago
why the snow mountains are important to me they protect an unique ecology. An ecology that will be at the front line of threat from climate change. They form the headwaters of significant economically important rivers. Their recreation and tourism potential provides significant sustainable regional economic impact.The "Hydro" represents a significant legacy to multiculturalism and nation building as well as providing renewable energy.They are geologically contentious, the origins and forces at play, the timescales involved still engender controversyWe can see the work of glaciersThey are floristically diverse.providing challenges for any plant lover.They are not well understood, the range of ecologies provide plenty of opportunities to look at interspecific relationships and more than likely the opportunity to describe new species of plants, insects etc let alone fungi, mosses and lichenThe landscape is like nothing else in Australia
Mountain Man over 3 years ago
The Snowy Mountains are important to me because they have been my family's home since the 1830's. Several branches from both mum and dad's families are all pioneers in the Snowy river area including some first fleeters on dad's side. I can trace at least 16 branches of my family who all settled in the mountains or on Monaro. On two different family branches I have ancestors who in the mid 1800's lived in areas that are both now so called wilderness areas and another who lived and worked near Mt Kosi itself. All were reknowned horse people who captured the brumbies which is documented in their obituaries. Often they would break them in and love them and sometimes they would shoot them when they competed for grass with the sheep or cattle. I grew up learning to love and respect the bush as well as the brumbies because they were a part of the bush as I knew it before it got riddled with weeds and scrub. I have seen the numbers of horses go up and down and also the men catching them. But we all loved seeing the brumbies in the bush.It distresses me greatly that our history is not recognised in the park in regards to the communities that lived there before the park. there were several communities that actually lived in whats known as the park but this history is without a voice.I like to visit my families old areas where I can escape from the modern world and relive (in my head at least) how it used to be before the park system. I like to ride the same tracks that our parents and ggrandparents etc rode but its getting a lot harder now because the bush is so bad and Im old. I have spoken with many older locals who all agree that the mountains were in much better condition before the park. I love themountains because they are my home but I hate that its the city people who have control of them and I hate that the greenies seem to think they own the place. and I hate that the greenies have so much say but its us locals who have to fight their fires. If they want to have so much influence over our mountains then they should be made to fight the fires in the park instead of staying away in sydney or canberra and just watchin on tv.
Natives_rule over 3 years ago
Since moving to Canberra eight years ago I visit KNP at least once a year in summer and winter. It is a beautiful place to visit but over the years I have noticed significant erosion and degradation impacts by feral horses. I don't enjoy seeing (or smelling) all the horse poo and erosion and damage whilst camping and walking in the park. From many of the comments so far I find it very sad that so many people aren't excited about seeing our native animals in this environment. I love seeing wombats and wallabies (particularly in the snow) and hearing the frogs and birds. On a camping trip in Long Plain last year the only animals I saw were feral horses and the damage around this camping area and other areas we went walking was visible. There is a lot of pressure on this fragile environment and I am concerned that it will become even more damaged without management of the large numbers of horses present.
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Bio-Brumby over 3 years ago
Hi Natives_rule, Those wanting to have sustainable Brumby numbers living wild in the park also get excited about a great range of wonders we see in the park. But this chat forum website is about the management of wild horses. Apologies if we forget to also express our deep appreciation for the many wonders seen in KNP. regards, Bio-Brumby
Adrian. over 3 years ago
I am writing this from Jindabyne, after a great day of cross country skiing out from guthega up towards consett stephen pass with my wife and daughters. It was cold and windy, and the snow tricky, so we had that wonderful sense of tired achievement at the end of the day that you get in difficult conditions, under a big sky in a big landscape. But it's not pristine. The snowy scheme itself has changed it irrevocably. The resorts are aprawling and ugly- their mess only revealed as the snows recede. The fires have wreaked havoc and the glorious hues of the snowgum have been replaced by grey uniformity. But personally I don't mind. The experience is different but as rewarding. The park will always change. Climate change/ fires development, extinctions these will all happen. The feral horses are part of the park now and are just as much loved by some people as the feral chairlifts, the feral roads, the feral huts, the feral tour groups etc. the horses are here to stay and we must muddle along as best we can. A national park is just another land use and I pity you guys who have to pick your way through all the competing interests. My 2c worth - once the numbers are known, try and decide on a number that does no more harm than skiers and bush fires. Work with the horse people to keep the numbers down humanely - there are probably heaps of people who would volunteer for this. - I'm sure ecotourism "catch a brumby tours "would be great fun, and attract environmentally minded horse lovers from around the world. Possibly euthenase any that get into the really high unique areas. But spend most of the money on fire control, which seems to me to have caused heaps of damage, and will be an ongoing major issue.Cheers Adrian
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youngconservationist over 3 years ago
National Parks as a land-use have a clear definition - "Large natural or near natural areas set aside to protect large-scale ecological processes, along with the complement of species and ecosystems characteristic of the area, which also provide a foundation for environmentally and culturally compatible spiritual, scientific, educational, recreational and visitor opportunities. Primary objective To protect natural biodiversity along with its underlying ecological structure and supporting environmental processes, and to promote education and recreation." Feral horses clearly don't fit this category and need to be removed. Horses have a place on farms, not areas set aside to preserve what has been lost in farming landscapes!
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Bio-Brumby over 3 years ago
Hi Youngconservationist, The act makes a point of conserving both nature and cultural values. I propose that all you say about national Parks definition prove that the cultural value many in the community support is within the clear definition you give. Horses are a part of large-scale ecological processes, along with .... and culturally compatible spiritual, scientific, educational, recreational and visitor opportunities. Horses in my view also assist biodiversity. So maybe we have to agree to disagree on this. Regards, Bio-Brumby
mw over 3 years ago
It's not about us.The horses add interest to a trip in the mountain ranges, but it's not about us and our entertainment. It is a pity that there are so many horses now that the impact on the habitat, especially around water, is affecting native flora and fauna, a much older heritage than the very recent one of cattlemen and their exotic animals. The balance of the web of life is out of kilter. Also, it would just be nice to be able to walk five metres without stepping in piles of horse poop.Perhaps it's time to get out of vehicles and down off horses and really see what is happening.
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gerg1400 over 3 years ago
Have been walking in KNP for some 25 years and mostly done 3-10 days walks. I have never found the Brumbies to be a problem as they are mostly in the Tantangara and Pilot areas and I have walked there. They certainly need to be managed probably back to the levels of around 2000, ie about 3000 total horses in KNP. Then they didnt seem to be an issue.They can be considered part of the cultural heritage of the area much like the old huts and mining areas which have been accepted by NPWS, hence their great work in restoring huts. Yes horses are hard hoofed and can damage some areas but they are largely at lower levels and in country which can support hard hoofs.I guess the big issue is how to manage them and what numbers can be considered sustainable.The other big issues are other more difficult feral animals such as pigs. In the 25 years I have been walking in the Jagungal area I have gone from seeing no pigs to now seeing significant damage from low down at 1300m up to 1900 metres along the main range between Gungartan and now close to Kiandra. The damage they do is quite amazing and its all to the grass that makes the area nice to walk in. Some think they are insignificant. Quite dangerous as they expanded their area of disturbance over large areas
ProtectParks over 3 years ago
I started off visiting KNP is 1981 with a few fishing trips to the Thredbo River. I have been visiting regularly ever since and just love the wildness of the place and, where it is on offer, the ability to find true wilderness. My last walk was out of Guthega up to the Main Range in March 2013 and I'm overdue for the next. National Parks are for the protection of our native flora and fauna - you cannot compromise that by having large populations of introduced animals, wild or domesticated. Australia evolved in isolation from the rest of the world and for millions of years no hoofed animals trod on this continent. That is the multi-million year old heritage of this country. The "heritage" of the brumby is less than 200 years and is shared with just about every other country in the world; there is nothing unique about it. I think horses are beautiful, intelligent and amazing; elephants are too but there is no place for either of them in a National Park.
Wild Horse Tours over 3 years ago
To me the mountains and the brumbies are of equal importance. While everyone goes to the Park for their own reasons, what is often forgotten here is that brumbies are also a tourist attraction for the region. I am not saying that they don't need to be managed but those developing the management plans need to consider that wildlife tourism also benefits the region.
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Mbidgee over 3 years ago
Yes, wildlife tourism is important, not feral animal tourism. Taking visitors on horse rides in a park does not depend on there being feral horses present.To me the Snowy mountains are another place where the largely untouched nature of Australia can be experienced, but that is spoilt when feral horses, their dung and signs of trampling are evident
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Bio-Brumby over 3 years ago
HI Mbidgee, You can give your opinion on what you think people visit National Parks for, but it is not appropriate to insist all Park visitors must visit for your reasons. I ask you to respect other Park Visitors differing reasons to visit the park which I know for myself are - to see horses living wild. After all, the discussion topic is why are the Snowy Mountains important you (us). Regards, Bio-Brumby
shez over 3 years ago
All national parks should be protected where ever possible from feral animals but the brumbies did not choose to be put there. Stallions should be castrated and the weened foals taken and rehomed. Having said that though there are too many good horses looking for homes eg ex race horses. A cull is out of the question. But like homeless cats and dogs, stop the breeding but unless every horse is removed they will always be breeding stock to replace the ones removed. Mares can also be fitted with implants to stop them breeding. Much kinder on the horses and let them die out naturally.
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Bush lover over 3 years ago
One of the discussion points here is the cost of managing the horses. To capture a horse according to this document costs $1070:http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/resources/protectsnowies/140549Snowies3.pdfAdd to this the cost of sterilising the animal, and the cost becomes very high.The methods you suggest to sterilise the horses would require capturing around half of the horses (males or females) to prevent them breeding. In actual fact, because it is a passive trapping program which depends on horses wandering into the trap, you would probably need to capture substantially more than that. So for example, if you were sterilising females, you would probably end up capturing at least as many males as females. Then if the sterilised ones were released again, you might well get them in the trap again. So the actual number of horses that go through the trap could well be substantially more than the number of horses in the park.In all of this, there is no guarantee that you would ever get many of the horses, such as the the ones who were shy of the trap, or never came into the area where the trap was.Unless the vast majority of horses were captured and sterilised, then the numbers of horses in the park would not decrease.Now let's look at what happens for the next 50 years while the horses die out. The current level of damage will continue. Ecosystems that have been badly damaged already will die out completely. Erosion will get worse. Creeks and rivers will silt up, reducing water quality, which will affect not just the park but everyone who depends on that water.If the horses are to live out their lives naturally, they should do it somewhere else but the park.
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Bio-Brumby over 3 years ago
Hi Bush Lover, Sterilisations programs can be delivered by dart gun (as have occurred over 30 years in America) with proven success in reducing numbers. Using a dart gun does not require mares to be trapped, so no trap costs are needed. Costs for fertility control range from $3-$35 per dose. From Bio-Brumby
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Happy Jack over 3 years ago
http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/bushtelegraph/non-surgical-sterilisation/4768258Darts were "almost in reach" in this June 2013 article.. A year ago, Professor Aitken, said "Injection might be possible for larger animals like camels, brumbies and some kangaroos with darts .."Have we had a breakthrough since then?This article documents the use of darts on horses ...but only to sedate the animal so they could manually sterilise them.http://outdoorvets.com/2011/06/25/overview-on-the-logistics-and-the-technique-used-for-the-sterilization-of-8-stallions-of-the-wild-horses-group-from-letea/
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Happy Jack over 3 years ago
Update: I have found an article on the use of PZP darting in (female only) Deer. (see link below)http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=226658.0However this requires a follow-up darting each year (it only becomes efective after the second injection) We seem to have a way to go before this approach is really practical.
Happy Jack over 3 years ago
This article from Australian Brumby Alliance seems to sum it up quite well.http://australianbrumbyalliance.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/ABA-Info-Sheet-Fertility-Control.pdfsorry, I don't know how to make these links active, you will need to cut and paste into your web browser.
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Mbidgee over 3 years ago
Sterilising horses by dart gun? Impractical, if you "do the maths".Even if you could dart 3,000 horses in one year, that is only half the current population estimate of around 6,000. And it leaves 3,000 horses to breed (at 17% annual increase) and 6,000 horses are still eating native plants and trampling vegetation and causing erosion.I'll bet that a dart gun projectile, even if it could stop breeding for a year would not be for life, so the program would have to run again the following year....and the same result...feral horse numbers would not be reliably controlled. So don't get carried away with 'pie-in-the sky' ideas like sterilising horse with dart guns. A good lethal shot gets rid of a horse. Don't believe the stories of a mare wandering around with 7 bullets in her, that is just a story put around by those who want to believe it.And don't worry about no horses left in the park: they will never be eradicated, and then the rare sightings of horse ( call it a brumby and it will seem better) will be all the more special because it is a rare event !
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Happy Jack over 3 years ago
You did NOT read the articles did you? even the Brumbyalliance article says it is not a practical method of sterilization. See the "cons" in their article.Why do people adopt the extremes or any position and then just use discussion to continually restate their initial position. (Maybe we watch too many politicians talking on Q&A).AND... Why do the people on each extreme, assume they know MY position on this topic? When I try to present a balanced and at least partially thought out argument.Just to make it clear, I am not for or against brumbys. I am in favor of managing their numbers in Kosi so we have sustainable impact on the park. Realistically, I think that is the best we can hope for and it is going to be an on-going, open ended effort.
mistygal01 over 3 years ago
I have never personally been to the Snowies due to living just a little too far away, however it is definitely on the cards for when the opportunity finally comes. But it will not be for the beautiful landscapes, the huts, or the snowgums that I will be visiting - I can get those in my own backyard as my property is surrounded by several other NP's. I will be visiting to try and see the brumbies, pure and simple. I am not the only one - I know of many, many people, especially photographers both professional and, like me, amateur, who visit the area for the brumbies. Not only once, but time and time again, many of them too many times throughout any given year to count. It sounds romantic, but people really do go to visit the brumbies, and I know of many individuals who have experienced these horses and have developed a 'relationship' of sorts with individual horses or mobs, however one-sided this may be in reality. The brumbies should be managed - NOT eradicated - and recognised for the history they represent and for the asset that they actually are to the park. They may not bring in as much cash as skiing does, but that does not mean that they should not be protected - and yes, even used as a visitor drawcard - by the Park. Personally, I would LOVE to see some sort of Park-managed programme set up, something along the lines of a horse-trekking business. Tourists pay big money to go on 1 or 2 hour horse rides (or longer) through beautiful terrain and many people make their living this way on their own properties. Imagine how popular it would be then if people could go trail riding on guided tours along designated paths on our living pieces of history, the brumbies, in the very places in which they were born and raised without human intervention. Again, it sounds an awfully romantic notion, but it demonstrates how there could be better options and uses for the horses, not only in reducing them as a 'problem' but PROMOTING them as a part of the Park, our nation's history, and even as a tourist attraction.
viminalis over 3 years ago
"Why are the Snowies important to you". Is the title question, however Brumbies seem to have taken over the debate. There is a bigger picture here.The snowies are important to me, becaue they are unique. I have travelled, skied and climbed in many mountains across the world. The Snowies have a charm and character about them that words will not do justice to. The beauty lies in the subtlies of the landscape, the flora and to a lesser degree the fauna (mostly as it is not seen as much as the others). The Himalaya, the European Alps, the NZ Alps, the Patagonian Andies, all are magnificient big scale mountains, but I still love the old weathed hills we have at home in our Snowy Mountains.I worked as a guide back in the 80's and traversed the Snowies many times with groups. I can say that there is now a lot more visual impact on the environment from feral animals (horses, pigs, deer). This is especially noticable post the big fires a decade ago where spagum bogs were burnt out badly. Though larger animals do not like walking through mushy bogs, once burnt the bogs do not appear to be growing back as the burnt bog is not regenerating as the grazing animals are now feeding/wandering there and this stops regrowth of these fragile plants.I would like to see a Snowy area is in a similiar environmental state to what is was for 10's or 100's of thousands of years before modern Humans came along and began to use it for self interested economic purposes. All of the feral animals compromise this environment and all of them should be removed so as to restore it to it's "Natural" state. Brumbies are part of this issue, not the only factor, there is no point addressing one feral animal without dealing with all of them. You kill the foxes and feral cats, then the rabbit numbers grow, etc.I and my family want a place to visit where we can see native animals and a natural environment.
Bio-Brumby over 3 years ago
Hi Admin,From Bio-Brumby - I request that no more conversations be closed until the results of the March 2014 Wild Horse population count is released. Often conservations relate to the actual population count, which NPWS have but we do not. We need this information inform our conversations before they are closed. This could be one and only point we all agree on. Regards, Bio-Brumby
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nicole over 3 years ago
Hi Bio-Brumby, we will be opening new discussions every week till 30 November as it is important to keep the conversation fresh and engaging. All new discussions remain open for at least 5 to 7 days.
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Donna over 3 years ago
Sorry, but I can't let this one slide...Discussion on where wild horses are seen opened on 18/7 and closed almost 4 weeks later on 14/8Discussion on the difference between a NP and a paddock opened on 3/7 and closed over 4 weeks later on 10/8Discussion on growing numbers opened on 14/7 and closed a month later on 14/8Discussion on the importance of estimated numbers versus impact opened on 15/8 and closed yesterday 27/8Discussion on how horses are removed from the park opened on 15/8 and closed yesterday 27/8Discussion on the cost of trapping opened on 20/8 and closed yesterday 27/8Discussion on why the Snowy Mountains are important opened on 3/7 and remains openDiscussion on Adopting wild horses opened on 3/7 and remains openIt's pretty clear to see no particular schedule is being maintained in terms of how long the discussions remain open and I'm certain I'm not the only one who feels it's extremely telling and concerning that the most crucial discussions are being closed prior to significant points being made and at a time when the input is at its highest. If NPWS want this consultation to be a true representation of all opinions, facts, research and experiences of those contributing it's incredibly important to demonstrate a high level of impartiality and fairness and sadly it would seem this isn't the case. Personally speaking it leaves me feeling very uneasy about the outcome of this process, the agendas behind it and ultimately the fate of the horses.
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Catherine Russell over 3 years ago
Hi Donna, Thanks for your feedback.We have taken it on board and our now providing clear closing dates for all discussions and keeping them open for a minimum of 7 days. We have also opened a discussion forum asking participants for potential topics. The opinions and views put forward through the discussions to date have been very useful and we are grateful for the participation. Thank you
Chapman over 3 years ago
HVBA President - Admin is it possible to start a new conversation regarding the numbers of Brumbies, or re-open the closed conversation re numbers, using HVBA Vice President's statistics below as the start of the conversation. I feel it is very important that people are made aware of this vital information. Thankyou
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nicole over 3 years ago
We will be opening new discussions every week till 30 November as it is important to keep the conversation fresh and engaging. All new discussions remain open for at least 5 to 7 days.
Themba over 3 years ago
It is a beautiful par of our country and should remain a national park. That being said, it is not just a park for people but also for animals. We already have people all over the park all year round and don't seem to worry about what damage all those people tramping about causes in the park. It is nice to have a beautiful park but it is not, and should not, be just for the enjoyment of people.
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parks4people over 3 years ago
Of course Parks have to be for animals (and Plants). They are the basis of any environment. The issue here is feral animals. They have no place in an area set aside for the protection of native species. That is why people have to be so aware of the needs of a natural ecosystem and be intelligent enough to exclude themselves from certain areas. These management principles then allow people to enjoy the attributes of our national Parks.
Bush lover over 3 years ago
Actually, I cannot find the legislation, but my recollection is that parks are primarily for preservation of environments. Use by people is a secondary goal, and is limited to a large extent. There is no reference to being a place for feral animals.
parks4people over 3 years ago
The high country is so fragile that even we are guilty of loving the park to death. We have to restrict our use in special areas eg no camping in Alpine lake catchments, no fires in alpine areas and where possible stay on formed or recognized tracks. Horses and in the future deer are going to be a huge threat to the Snowies. Their numbers have increased so much that now I see evidence of both in areas that never had such large animals in such large numbers. Driving from Tumut to Cooma every weekend in 1975 and I never saw a horse once. Now the droppings are regularly seen, not to mention the dangers of horses on the road. The Brumby is a beautiful looking animal especially when seen in the snow while I am on cross country skis but they are feral and are damaging the ecology. They have not earned their right to be in the Snowies landscape. They are hard hooved and as such are destructive. All feral animals should be removed from National Parks and in some circumstances that includes us. National Parks are for people. They provide solace, wilderness, challenges in life, clean water and air, and recreation. We have to be careful not to indulge ourselves to the point that we destroy these attributes and condemn our great grandchildren to only being able to read about our experiences.