The Invasive Species Council appreciates the complex issues of feral horse management and welcomes the opportunity to make this submission.
This submission is made in the interests of the conservation of the state’s biodiversity, and to the protection and restoration of its natural habitats.
We find the Draft Wild Horse Management Plan to be a diplomatic, reasonably ambitious and well constructed document. It considers the concerns of all stakeholders – environmental, heritage and welfare concerns – and proposes a compromise in an attempt to meet all those concerns.
This is commendable in terms of public consultation, although it does raise questions about the degree of compromise made to the conservation of the park’s values. For example, the 20 year timeframe for reducing horse numbers to 600 means that the impacts of large numbers of feral horses will continue over that time, albeit more closely managed.
Also, the intention to maintain a population of feral horses in the park is at odds with the protection of the national park’s conservation values and ignores the existence of alternative ways of conserving the cultural values of the horses.