Have your say on the Alpine National Park Feral Horse Management Plan
Friday 22 December, 2017
Parks Victoria is seeking feedback on the Protection of the Alpine National Park - Feral Horse Strategic Action Plan 2018-2020 (Draft) through a six-week engagement period commencing Friday 22 December 2017.
The draft plan and accompanying survey will be available for comment on the Victorian Government’s website Engage Victoria until 2 February 2018.
The Australian Alps is home to many unique and threatened plant and wildlife species, including alpine wildflowers and herbs, mossbeds, snowpatch plant communities, and alpine She-oak Skinks, Tree Frogs and Spiny Crayfish.
Disturbance to Aboriginal cultural sites has been observed and recorded, with feral horses damaging culturally important sites such as ancestral burial grounds.
Feral horses are not a natural part of the Australian environment and are considered a serious threat to the survival of alpine species and their habitats - particularly for their impacts on high-country waterways and vegetation.
Reducing the number of feral horses in the Alpine National Park is vital to protect these natural environments from further destruction. An estimated 2,500 feral horses are present in Victoria’s eastern alps and 60-100 on the Bogong High Plains. More than 6,000 feral horses occupy the adjacent Kosciusko National Park in New South Wales. Across both states, high horse numbers and remote terrain mean that horses will always have a presence in the Australian Alps.
The draft plan proposes:
- To expand current yard trapping and removal of horses from the Eastern Alps and the Bogong High Plains, from around 100-150 per year to around 400 per year over the three-year plan.
- To maximise rehoming of captured horses through horse organisation partnerships.
- Trapped animals that are ill, injured or unable to be rehomed will be humanely put down onsite under strict protocols and removed.
- Over time, the small horse population on Bogong High Plains will be totally removed.
The plan does not consider shooting of free-ranging horses, either from helicopter or ground.
The plan has been developed through extensive consultation with community, environmental, horse and cultural stakeholder groups. Parks Victoria has also sought expert input from a Technical Reference Group of specialists in veterinary science, animal welfare, horse behaviour and cultural heritage.
To comment on the draft plan, please visit www.engage.vic.gov.au
Quotes attributable to Dr Mark Norman, Chief Conservation Scientist, Parks Victoria
“We encourage the community to read and provide feedback on this draft action plan. A lot of effort has been made to meet the dual aims of protecting vulnerable alpine environments, and getting the best animal welfare treatment and outcomes for captured horses.”
“The proposed program compliments existing pest animal and weed management programs that Parks Victoria delivers across the state to protect the natural environment, including for rabbits, goats, pigs, deer, cats and foxes.”
“The draft plan will be reviewed and finalised following consideration of all public feedback received through the Engage Victoria website.”
Media enquiriesMelanie McVey-Di Lazzaro
0459 818 451
Parks Victoria media centre