The Invasive Species Council has welcomed the NSW Government’s announcement for a zero extinction target within the state’s protected areas while calling on the government to release its plan for feral horses in Kosciuszko National Park.
The NSW Government has identified more than 30 sites of intergenerational significance within Kosciuszko. There are at least 34 threatened species in the park that are harmed by feral horses. The announcement comes as a plan to deal with feral horses in Kosciuszko National Park has stalled within the government.
“Australia has a damning record on extinction, so this type of leadership is important,” Invasive Species Council conservation director James Trezise said.
“The ambition will need to be matched with long-term funding so that land managers can effectively tackle invasive pests and weeds along with other threats. We’ve seen it work in places like Lord Howe Island where rodents were eliminated.
“While this is a welcome start, invasive species, whether feral horses, deer or cats, don’t respect park boundaries and will need to be managed across the landscape to truly avert extinctions of imperilled wildlife.
“The reality is zero extinction will require meaningful action to address the key threats driving wildlife declines. That means stronger protections for native wildlife and increasing investment in managing key threats like invasive species. The proof of the commitment will be in reversing population declines of imperilled wildlife and driving species and ecosystem recovery,” Mr Trezise said.
“If we are to really drive zero extinctions in places like Kosciuszko, we are going to need to tackle the major threats in that landscape, and one of those is the growing number of feral horses.
“Kosciuszko is the only national park in Australian that has legislation that prioritises the protection of an invasive species over native wildlife.
“The latest scientific estimate is that there were 14,000 feral horses in 2020, this number is set to grow significantly with the arrival of the spring breeding season. There is still no effective plan for managing the species.
“This feral horse plan seems to be caught in the neverland of the NSW Government,” said Mr Trezise.
- To find out more about the campaign to protect Kosciuszko National Park from feral horses visit ReclaimKosci.org.au.