MEDIA RELEASE 7 February 2018 |
Conservationists support a sustained program to remove feral horses from the magnificent but fragile Alpine National Park, to reduce impacts on threatened species, water catchments, and rare alpine habitats.
“Action to greatly reduce the number of feral horses in the Alpine National Park is long overdue,” said Phil Ingamells from the Victorian National Parks Association.
After many years of public consultation, Parks Victoria is now planning to remove all horses from the Bogong High Plains, and at least 400 each year from the larger population in the eastern section of the Alpine National Park. The plan is open for public consultation until 16 February 2018.
“Extensive scientific studies show that horses damage the many peat beds and wetlands that should be feeding clear water into our rivers and streams all year long. They also threaten a number of rare alpine plants and animals.
“Proposals in Parks Victoria’s Feral Horse Strategic Action Plan are very welcome,” Mr Ingamells said. “It is important the program is well resourced.”
“The damage horses do to the high country has been well known since the 1940s, and action was taken back then before the area was made a national park. So it is disappointing that horse numbers have rebounded and continue to damage our magnificent alpine region.”
Victoria’s Alpine National Park protects some 575 rare and threatened plants and animals, many of which have been slowly recovering from decades of cattle grazing. The cattle are gone, but horses, deer, pigs and goats are now increasingly damaging one of the most important protected conservation reserves in Australia.
Efforts will be made to re-home as many horses as possible. It is important to remember that horses are domestic animals, and often suffer greatly during bushfires, drought or heavy snow. They belong in paddocks, not parks.