The ACT Government has welcomed Victoria’s new draft feral horse plan, which expands management options and better aligns with our zero-tolerance approach to the pest animals.
Minister for Land Management Mick Gentleman said strong horse management policies were essential to protect sensitive alpine ecosystems.
“Feral horses are one of the largest causes of environmental degradation in Australia’s alpine parks,” Minister Gentleman said.
“Alpine wetlands filter the water that flows into our drinking catchments and increasing feral horse numbers risk severely damaging these sensitive areas.
“We added Namadgi’s ‘High Country Bogs and Associated Fens’ to the ACT Threatened Ecological Communities List last year based on advice from the ACT Scientific Committee.
“Victoria’s new plan will give their ecologists and parks staff more options to effectively manage horse populations within their borders.
“Now we need the NSW Government to come to the table with a stronger management plan that’s consistent with their neighbours in the ACT and Victoria.
“It’s becoming more difficult to keep feral horses out of the ACT’s parks as NSW populations grow – the last count found 14,000 horses across the border in Kosciusko.
“While it’s positive that the NSW Environment Minister has promised to reduce these numbers, we need swift action beyond ineffective trapping and rehoming methods.”
Minister for the Environment Rebecca Vassarotti said the ACT Government declared feral horses as pest animals last year to recognise the damage they cause to native habitats and species.
“Our precious environment does not recognise state boundaries, which is why a joint and consistent approach with NSW is the only way to protect the environment from pests in the ACT and surrounding region,” Minister Vassarotti said.
“We need to protect the natural and cultural values of Namadgi National Park from the impacts of feral horses.
“The internationally significant Ginini Flats wetland complex in Namadgi National Park is the largest intact sphagnum bog and fen community in the Australian Alps.
“We must protect the critically endangered Northern Corroboree Frogs as well as native Broad-toothed Rats, Alpine Tree Frogs, Reik’s Crayfish and Alpine Spiny Crayfish that call these wetlands home.
“It is now time for the NSW Government to stop protecting destructive feral horses at the expense of our environment and unique biodiversity.”
VIC Feral Horse Action Plan 2021: https://engage.vic.gov.au/alpine-feral-horse-action-plan
ACT Feral Horse Management Plan: www.environment.act.gov.au/parks-conservation/plants-and-animals/biosecurity/pest-animals/feral_horse_management