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Threatened Species Strategy Action Plan 2021-2026: Consultation Paper

In our response to the Threatened Species Strategy Action Plan consultation paper we focus on the first five action areas.

These include the activities essential for the transformational changes needed to recover threatened species and places in the long term – namely, mitigation of the big threats to biodiversity and effective conservation planning.

The prioritisation of species and places is also important, but unless the proposed recovery actions are coupled with widespread application of threat abatement, including through new planning and policy measures, as well as research to strengthen Australia’s abatement capacity, recovery progress will be ‘a drop in the bucket’ compared to what is needed.

Target setting

A high level of ambition is needed for target setting, including for meeting new international targets currently under development as part of the post 2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, and achieving the goals and objectives in Australia’s Strategy for Nature (2019-30). The identification of synergies across the action areas will be important for defining cumulative targets, as will the adaptation of targets over time as new challenges arise.

A dedicated consultative process would be helpful for setting SMART targets for new and established invasive threats. The best scientific information available is needed to ensure they are specific and measurable. To ensure they are also achievable, realistic and time-bound it may be necessary to cross-check the assumptions within the Theory of Change logic and the activities being proposed.

Ongoing engagement

Each of the proposed action areas needs ongoing engagement with stakeholders to fully canvass options, identify priorities, set targets and guide delivery. We recommend expert reference groups be established to bring together key knowledge holders, including from both scientific and First Nations perspectives, to guide the further development and delivery of each action area.

To help promote continued engagement the action plan could become an online ‘living document’ through which stakeholders can see progress towards targets and the cumulative impact of individual actions across tenures.

Recommendations

  1. Establish expert reference groups to:
    a) Inform target setting for both long-term and short-term targets.
    b) Evaluate the performance of key actions and recommend iterative improvements over time.
  2. It is critical that the action plan and the Threatened Species Strategy more broadly is adequately funded. The action plan should transparently set out the anticipated costs of relevant actions and identify sources of investment.

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Save the Snowies

The NSW government is one step away from allowing aerial control of feral horses in Kosciuszko National Park. This is huge news and a crucial step for our threatened native wildlife and the fragile alpine ecosystems they call home.

Dear Project Team,

[YOUR PERSONALISED MESSAGE WILL APPEAR HERE.] 

I support the amendment to the Kosciuszko National Park Wild Horse Heritage Management Plan to allow our incredible National Parks staff to use aerial shooting as one method to rapidly reduce feral horse numbers. I want to see feral horse numbers urgently reduced in order to save the national park and our native wildlife that live there.

The current approach is not solving the problem. Feral horse numbers have rapidly increased in Kosciuszko National Park to around 18,000, a 30% jump in just the past 2 years. With the population so high, thousands of feral horses need to be removed annually to reduce numbers and stop our National Park becoming a horse paddock. Aerial shooting, undertaken humanely and safely by professionals using standard protocols, is the only way this can happen.

The government’s own management plan for feral horses states that ‘if undertaken in accordance with best practice, aerial shooting can have the lowest negative animal welfare impacts of all lethal control methods’.

This humane and effective practice is already used across Australia to manage hundreds of thousands of feral animals like horses, deer, pigs, and goats.

Trapping and rehoming of feral horses has been used in Kosciuszko National Park for well over a decade but has consistently failed to reduce the population, has delayed meaningful action and is expensive. There are too many feral horses in the Alps and not enough demand for rehoming for it to be relied upon for the reduction of the population.

Fertility control as a management tool is only effective for a small, geographically isolated, and accessible population of feral horses where the management outcome sought is to maintain the population at its current size. It is not a viable option to reduce the large and growing feral horse population in the vast and rugged terrain of Kosciuszko National Park.

Feral horses are trashing and trampling our sensitive alpine ecosystems and streams, causing the decline and extinction of native animals. The federal government’s Threatened Species Scientific Committee has stated that feral horses ‘may be the crucial factor that causes final extinction’ for 12 alpine species.

I recognise the sad reality that urgent and humane measures are necessary to urgently remove the horses or they will destroy the Snowies and the native wildlife that call the mountains home. I support a healthy national park where native species like the Corroboree Frog and Mountain Pygmy Possum can thrive.

Kind regards,
[Your name]
[Your email address]
[Your postcode]


Dear Project Team,

[YOUR PERSONALISED MESSAGE WILL APPEAR HERE.] 

I support the amendment to the Kosciuszko National Park Wild Horse Heritage Management Plan to allow our incredible National Parks staff to use aerial shooting as one method to rapidly reduce feral horse numbers. I want to see feral horse numbers urgently reduced in order to save the national park and our native wildlife that live there.

The current approach is not solving the problem. Feral horse numbers have rapidly increased in Kosciuszko National Park to around 18,000, a 30% jump in just the past 2 years. With the population so high, thousands of feral horses need to be removed annually to reduce numbers and stop our National Park becoming a horse paddock. Aerial shooting, undertaken humanely and safely by professionals using standard protocols, is the only way this can happen.

The government’s own management plan for feral horses states that ‘if undertaken in accordance with best practice, aerial shooting can have the lowest negative animal welfare impacts of all lethal control methods’.

This humane and effective practice is already used across Australia to manage hundreds of thousands of feral animals like horses, deer, pigs, and goats.

Trapping and rehoming of feral horses has been used in Kosciuszko National Park for well over a decade but has consistently failed to reduce the population, has delayed meaningful action and is expensive. There are too many feral horses in the Alps and not enough demand for rehoming for it to be relied upon for the reduction of the population.

Fertility control as a management tool is only effective for a small, geographically isolated, and accessible population of feral horses where the management outcome sought is to maintain the population at its current size. It is not a viable option to reduce the large and growing feral horse population in the vast and rugged terrain of Kosciuszko National Park.

Feral horses are trashing and trampling our sensitive alpine ecosystems and streams, causing the decline and extinction of native animals. The federal government’s Threatened Species Scientific Committee has stated that feral horses ‘may be the crucial factor that causes final extinction’ for 12 alpine species.

I recognise the sad reality that urgent and humane measures are necessary to urgently remove the horses or they will destroy the Snowies and the native wildlife that call the mountains home. I support a healthy national park where native species like the Corroboree Frog and Mountain Pygmy Possum can thrive.

Kind regards,
[Your name]
[Your email address]
[Your postcode]