Documents obtained from the NSW Government reveal a hamstrung feral horse removal program that is failing to stop numbers from spiralling out of control in Kosciuszko National Park.
“The NSW Government’s own documents show that, despite the best efforts of its parks agency, they are being hamstrung by the lack of control methods at their disposal to reduce feral horse numbers in Kosciuszko National Park,” Invasive Species Council conservation director James Trezise said.
“Feral horse populations in Kosciuszko are spiralling out of control.”
The documents were obtained under NSW freedom of information laws and show that in the year to 30 June 2021 just 1006 feral horses were captured and 701 removed. The rest, 305 horses – almost entirely mares and foals – were released back into the park.
The number of horses removed is estimated to be just a third of what is needed to stop the population from growing.
The documents also show there has been no trapping in the southern part of Kosciuszko National Park, which abuts the Victorian border, since at least 2015, and that the estimated cost of the program was $10 million over four years.
“Let’s be clear, a target of zero extinctions of native wildlife in NSW parks is not compatible with the current approach to managing feral horses in Kosciuszko,” Mr Trezise said.
“There has also been no trapping on Currango Plain, the largest sub-alpine wetland in the park and home to over 1300 feral horses.
“The fact that there has been no control in the southern portion of the park since at least 2015 is very concerning, especially as this will have implications for management of feral horses in Victoria.
“The population of feral horses will grow even larger this spring breeding season and the horses that were released back into the park will be more trap weary and harder to control in future years.
“The simple reality is the management burden and costs to NSW taxpayers are just getting larger and larger every day,” Mr Trezise said.