Environmental issues

Pests and weeds

Kosciuszko National Park Horse Management Plan

Kosciuszko National Park is the largest national park in NSW and one of the largest conservation reserves in Australia. The Park was declared in 1944 and is now a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. It contains continental Australia’s highest mountains as well as a great variety of outstanding scenery, natural features and plant and animal communities.

The National Parks and Wildlife Service (the Service), a division of the Office of Environment and Heritage, has a legal duty to protect native habitats, native fauna and flora, geological features and wildlife within its reserves. We also have a responsibility to minimise the impact of introduced species, including horses.

History of horse management in the park

Control of horses in the park began in the early 1970s with a licensed horse roping/brumby running program, however public and NPWS concerns over the inhumane practice and the adoption of the Plan of Management in 1982 resulted in the practice being banned. By the late 1990s the environmental impacts from a growing horse population became increasingly obvious, with new tracks, damage to stream and riverbanks, trampling of bogs and damage to native vegetation.

In 2000 in response to legislative responsibilities, the Snowy Mountains Region of NPWS began to prepare a horse management plan to protect the alpine area of the park. The plan was released and implemented in 2003.

In 2006 a Plan of Management for Kosciuszko National Park was formally adopted and one of its objectives is to reduce the distribution and abundance of introduced animal species found in the park. The Plan of Management called for the exclusion of horses from key areas and for a Feral Horse Management Plan to be prepared for the whole of the park. This plan is part of our response to that commitment.

Community Views

The Service knows that there is a wide range of views in the community about how the horses in the park should be managed. A Horse Management Community Steering Group has helped to write this plan.

The Steering Group examined the range of horse management methods available, including fertility control, fencing, shooting and capture and removal methods and some of the issues associated with each of the methods in the document. After reviewing the different methods, the Steering Group recognised that different techniques are best suited to different situations depending on issues such as mob size, geography and season. The Group agreed that as with any vertebrate pest program, a combination of different techniques will give the most effective result. 

Documents to download

Review

This plan is undergoing its periodic review. To participate in drafting a new plan, please visit http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/protectsnowies/.

 

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Page last updated: 20 August 2014