2022 Kosciuszko National Park Wild Horse Survey results
The report of a November 2022 survey of the wild horse population in Kosciuszko National Park has been released, showing an estimated wild horse population of 18,814 horses, with a 95% confidence interval of 14,501 - 23,535 horses.
NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) Head Atticus Fleming AM said the survey was carried out as part of implementing the Kosciuszko National Park Wild Horse Heritage Management Plan.
"The survey has been carried out using world's best practice, and the report, authored by a leading scientist from the University of New England, has been peer-reviewed by scientists from CSIRO and the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries," Mr Fleming said.
"The scientific report indicates the best estimate is 18,814 horses and states there is 95% confidence that the population is between 14,501 and 23,535 horses."
"These results will be used to help design and implement ongoing wild horse control operations across Kosciuszko National Park.
"The plan imposes a legal obligation on NPWS to reduce the horse population to 3,000 horses by 30 June 2027 using a range of control measures in accordance with the highest welfare standards."
"Implementation of the plan has been phased in, with 859 horses removed in the first ten months. The data provided by this survey will inform full delivery of the Kosciuszko National Park Wild Horse Heritage Management Plan, supported by additional resources, to ensure NPWS meets the requirement of 3,000 horses by 2027.
Key results from the survey include:
- The estimated total population has increased by 31% in the last 2 years. The previous survey was conducted in 2020 after the park was impacted by fires and drought.
- Around 68% of the horse population is in the north of the park.
- The increase in the horse population is mainly in the south of the park. This could reflect a combination of factors including good recent rainfall (the south was hardest hit by the previous drought) and immigration from outside the park.
- The survey also recorded a significant increase in the deer population in Kosciuzko National Park, despite NPWS removing over 6,800 deer during 2020, 2021 and 2022.