Protecting Wilderness and National Parks

Mismanagement causing Feral Horse suffering and death in Kosciuszko

Disturbing footage of dead and dying feral horses* by the Snowy River and elsewhere in the Kosciuszko National Park (KNP) reveals serious flaws in the NSW Government’s Kosciuszko Wild Horse Heritage Act, 2018.

The Heritage Horse Act rejected the 2016 Draft Wild Horse Management plan, which had the strategy of reducing horse numbers in KNP from 6000 to 600, utilising effective culling methods, like shooting. The Horse Act removed these effective mechanisms for population control, with horses now starving to death in Kosciuszko National Park.

Wilson Harris of the Colong Foundation said: “the extreme suffering of starving and slowly dying horses in the park reflect key problems with this legislation. Passive trapping and removal of horses from the park, and measures like ‘fertility control’ that can’t work over broad areas, are unable to control the population. Drought has compounded overpopulation to bring about mass-suffering.”

“The national park was already at a tipping point where numbers needed drastic reduction when the 2016 Draft management plan was to be implemented to prevent serious environmental degradation. During the years spent debating this management plan, followed by the passage of this act, the population of feral horses has obviously precipitated this animal welfare crisis.

“It’s clear that animal welfare considerations must be addressed. This legislation is causing extreme suffering to the animals that it sought to honour and protect. Removing effective population control measures is inhumane, with the suffering experienced through aerial culling being far less than by slow starvation or even passive trapping and removal.

“If, as the Government claims, people are coming to the Snowies specifically to see the majestic wild Brumbies, they will be shocked at what they will encounter. Letting this suffering continue is not only completely inhumane, it underlines the emotion and lack of science which led to this ineffectual Heritage Horse legislation.”

“With a predicted El Nino likely to bring hot and dry conditions throughout summer, alarm bells should be ringing for anyone concerned with the welfare of these animals. Of course the national park is being ruined by overgrazing, and this is yet another reason why the Heritage Horse legislation must be ripped up.


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[* Graphic images - MA15+ not for children or teenages under 15]

Footage taken by Richard Swain, contactable on 0428 826 938.


Media Contact: Wilson Harris | 0479100461 |