20,000 Kosciuszko horses face bushfire threat

The failure to control exploding numbers of feral horses in Kosciuszko National Park raises serious animal welfare issues as the park comes under threat from two large fires.

“The estimated 20,000 horses at large in the park do not understand evacuation orders and thousands could now face painful deaths from bushfire,” Invasive Species Council CEO Andrew Cox said today.

“We hold fears for the people who live and work in the area and their property. We hold fears for the wildlife of Kosciuszko and we hold fears for the welfare of so many horses.

“Any loss of animals in the national park is a serious animal welfare issue.”

  • The 2002-3 fires in Kosciuszko National Park effectively halved the park’s feral horse population.
  • In 2001 there were an estimated 5200 horses in the Australian Alps, while after the major bushfire, there were about 2400 in April 2003.
  • More than 70% of the areas occupied by the horses was burnt.

“The NSW government has failed to control feral horse numbers in Kosciuszko National Park.

“The feral horse population across the Australian Alps is over 25,000, with 20,000 running uncontrolled in Kosciuszko National Park and no plan to halt the population growth.”

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