Control of horses in Kosciuszko National Park began in the early 1970s with a licensed horse roping/brumby running program. Public and National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) concerns over the inhumane practice, along with the adoption of a 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 Kosciuszko National Park Plan of Management was formally adopted. One objective was 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. The 2008 horse management plan was part of our response to that commitment.
This 2008 plan has undergone a review as represented by the 2016 Kosciuszko National Park Draft Wild Horse Management Plan. The 2016 draft plan was not finalised.
NPWS has a legal duty to:
- protect native habitats
- native animals and plants
- minimise the impact of introduced species, including horses.
There is a wide range of views in the community about how the horses in the park should be managed. The Horse Management Community Steering Group helped write this plan.
The steering group examined the range of horse management methods available, including fertility control, fencing, shooting and capture and removal, and some of the issues associated with each of the methods.
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 a combination of different techniques would give the most effective result.