An advocate for brumbies was relieved that the NSW government has decided to protect the nation’s iconic Kosciuszco wild horses.
Dubbed as the “Brumbies Bill”, the government have eased speculation of culling brumbies and instead said they would recognise the cultural significance and value of the brumby while managing future plans for the Kosciuszco National Park.
Riverina campaigner Lynette Sutton, works to save and promote Australian heritage horses.
“For too long we’ve been wasting an Australian asset,” she said.
“Overseas animals are promoted and shown to have value, whereas here brumbies have been seen as a genetic feral waste.”
After more than 10 years of negotiations, Ms Sutton said this has been the first time that marketing brumbies as a heritage identity has been acknowledged.
“I think coming to a round table with all sections together and [working out] the best possible way to preserve both the heritage of the horses, their iconic status and protecting the mountains will prove the best outcome for managing them”, she said.
However Keith Muir, the director of the Colong Foundation for Wilderness, disagreed with the bill and argued the state government has favoured horses over the heritage-listed Kosciuszco National Park.
“The National Party has elevated the horse from feral to wild, and now it is to be ennobled as heritage”, Mr Muir said.
“Now selective grazing will again see the herbs eaten out of this park.
“All going into the gizzards of 6000 large and hungry heritage herbivores.”
NSW Deputy Premier and Nationals leader John Barilaro said he opposed “cruel forms of culling” and stressed brumbies were symbolic to the Australian environment.
“Wild brumbies have been roaming the Australian alps for almost 200 years and are part of the cultural fabric and folklore of the high country,” he said.
“The heritage management plan will specifically prohibit lethal culling of the brumby, aerial or otherwise, and will identify those areas in the park where brumbies can roam without causing significant environmental harm.
“If brumbies are found in highly sensitive alpine areas of Kosciuszko National Park, resources will be allocated towards relocation first, followed by re-homing, should population numbers grow too high.”
Additional changes to the future management of brumbies would include:
- Establishing an advisory panel for the appropriate management of brumbies;
- Adopting a scientific research and monitoring program informing future wild horse management plans;
- Implementing an accurate count of brumbies and where they range, and;
- Marketing a campaign to promote the adoption and re-homing of brumbies that need to be removed from the national park.
Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton has approved horse riding in four national parks – Kosciuszco, Deua, Monga and Mummel Gulf, following a two-year trial.
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