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Barmah Horse Management Program Park Subotopic Layout
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Parks Victoria and Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation (YYNAC) are working with the community to explore ways to reduce the impacts of the Barmah horse population on Barmah National Park. The wild horse population is impacting sensitive environmental and cultural sites through grazing pressure, trampling and pugging.
A Barmah Horse Advisory Committee (BHAC) has been established to provide specialist advice on horse management and consultation with the broader community.
The BHAC supports the objective of protecting the River Red Gum floodplain ecosystems and cultural heritage sites, whilst recognising the social and heritage values of the Barmah horses.
Engaging with the BHAC is proving to be an effective way of facilitating diverse community views and capturing local knowledge to consider options for how the horses should be managed. Management strategies may include removal and rehoming of the horses. There are no plans to cull Barmah horses.
An aerial survey conducted in January identified a minimum of 140 wild horses in the park. Parks Victoria is undertaking further work to build on research to date to better understand the specific impact of the horses within the park and the cultural, social and heritage values associated with the horses.
Parks Victoria and Yorta Yorta will work collaboratively with the BHAC to document this knowledge to inform the development of a Barmah Horse Management Strategy and develop methods for broader consultation with the community.
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.
The Barmah Horse Advisory 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.
Barmah National Park is part of the largest River Red Gum forest in the world. It supports many rare and threatened plants and animals, and contains Ramsar-listed wetlands of international significance. The park contains many cultural heritage sites and is significant to the Yorta Yorta people as part of their traditional Country and ongoing cultural activity.
07 Nov 2013
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