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NSW government contemplating aerial shooting of feral horses

Feral horses currently threaten 12 animal species in NSW.

Aerial shooting of feral horses is being considered by NSW Environment Minister Penny Sharpe to get the population back on track at Kosciuszko National Park.

On Monday, the government announced they are seeking feedback on the proposed amendment to the Kosciuszko National Park Wild Horse Management Plan to reduce the feral horse population and protect more than 30 endangered species.

“Recent reports show that without action, wild horses could tip threatened species to extinction. There are simply too many wild horses for the park to cope,” Sharpe said.

In May, member of the Threatened Species Science Committee, Prof Chris Johnson told the Guardian that the situation was “urgent”. The feral horses “mess habitat up in a way that the entire population is highly at risk”.

“We need urgent management action to stop that from happening,” he said.

Feral horses are a known threat to 12 animals – three frogs, four fish, four reptiles and one mammal. Six of these are close to extinction.

 “We could be looking on the map at a hotspot of extinction that we will regret,” Prof Johnson said.

Last year the Kosciuszko National Park Wild Horse Management Plan was signed off as a reprise of the 2016 draft management document that called for the feral horse population to be reduced to fewer than 3000 horses in 2027.

Experts believe that this goal now seems impossible, with the feral horse population estimated to currently be 23,000 and is predicted to grow to 50,000 in the next decade if action does not take place.


Photo: Wild Horses on Grass by Robert So available HERE and used under a Creative Commons license. This image has not been modified.

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