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Barmah Horse Management Strategy

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Parks Victoria and Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation (YYNAC) are working on a horse management strategy to reduce the impact of the wild horse population in Barmah National Park. 

Barmah National Park is home to internationally significant wetlands, rare and threatened species and ecological communities, as well as many significant Aboriginal cultural heritage sites that need to be protected. 

An aerial survey conducted in January 2012 identified a minimum of 140 wild horses in the park. 

In fulfilling responsibilities to control exotic fauna, under the National Parks Act 1975, Parks Victoria and Yorta Yorta Nation are planning to remove all horses from Barmah National Park, while recognising the social and heritage values of Barmah horses.

Heritage and social values of Barmah horses

Parks Victoria understands there are a range of views on wild horses, and is undertaking research to better understand the social and heritage values of wild horses in Barmah National Park.

The research, undertaken by independent consultants Context Pty Ltd, includes an online survey which has been completed, and the preparation of a brief history of the Barmah horses through interviews and archival research.  

The results will help shape the development of a horse management strategy for Barmah National Park. Community social and heritage values identified in the research will help inform park management strategies to acknowledge views about the horses.

Strategy Development

Community consultation in 2014 will assess the range of views about the removal of Barmah horses and how it should be managed.  Any strategy to manage the impacts of horses in Barmah National Park will be made available to the public.

A Barmah Horse Advisory Committee (BHAC) has been established to provide specialist advice on horse management and consultation with the broader community to inform development of the Barmah Horse Management Strategy. 

The committee includes representatives from long-standing community and specialist groups including Barmah Forest Cattlemen’s Association, Barmah Forest Preservation League, Goulburn Valley Environment Group, Moira Shire Council, RSPCA (Victoria) and the Victorian Brumby Association.

Representatives were selected based on specific knowledge, experience and skills relating to the program including bush knowledge, horsemanship, environment and cultural heritage protection and the humane treatment of animals.

Lethal control is not being considered an option for removing the Barmah wild horses. 

A state-wide horse management reference group will also provide high level technical advice to Parks Victoria to guide the development of wild horse management strategies. 

If you have any queries about the development of the strategy please email barmahhorses@parks.vic.gov.au