Protecting Wilderness and National Parks



Decisive action needed to end the suffering of starving horses in Guy Fawkes National Park

The misery of hunger and starvation stalks the horses in Guy Fawkes National Park since the drought and Bees Nest fire removed all remnant feed,” said Wilson Harris, Natural Areas Campaigner for the Colong Foundation.  “More than 200 emaciated, 28 dead and 3 dying horses were observed on a site inspection of the park last month, a huge number for such poor country.”

Long term problem

“There has been a long term conservation problem in the wild and rugged Guy Fawkes National Park caused by thousands of feral horses.  The horses cause extensive erosion and have denuded river flats of grass cover, denying food resources to many native animals.”

“These serious problems have been sharply aggravated by the large bushfires which have swept the Guy Fawkes Park recently.”  

“Starved feral horses are not a romantic sight.  The large population of feral horses is starving and many will suffer an agonising death.  Despite their poor condition they are still mobile and in many parts of the Park.  In their desperation, the horses have caused large areas of sheet erosion as they strip the remaining undergrowth and grasses.”

“The management plan to trap and remove the horses has failed as they can’t be rounded up in the rugged wilderness. Instead, aerial shooting is the effective, humane means of control.”

“As an act of mercy, the NSW Government must aerially shoot these starving horses using RSPCA protocols with experienced, capable shooters, and this is more humane than allowing them to suffer a lingering death[i].  The horses are causing extensive damage to this rugged national park of wild rivers and deep gorges, and that makes the problem worse as the degrading landscape can’t support them.”

For More Information contact Wilson Harris, mob 0479 100 461; office 9261 2400 or Keith Muir 0412 791 404

Exclusive imagines of horses in the Guy Fawkes wilderness


[i] Both the Australian Veterinarian Association and the RSPCA provide information on feral horse control methods developed by the NSW Department of Primary Industries, with support from the Australian Government – these are available on the PestSmart website. Methods include aerial shooting, which PestSmart states ‘can be a humane method of destroying feral horses when it is carried out by experienced and skilled shooters and pilots; the animal can be clearly seen and is within range; the correct firearm, ammunition and shot placement is used; and wounded animals are promptly located and killed.’