ACT Government to update brumbies management plan, declare brumbies ‘pest’ animals

Lachlan Roberts17 May 2019
Wild horses

ACT Parks and Conservation Services said feral horses are a major threat to the unique environment of the Australian Alps. File photo.

The ACT Government is hoping to officially declare brumbies a pest and update its management plan to prevent the feral horses degrading the ACT’s Namadgi National Park.

The ACT’s existing management plan, which was first prepared in 2004 and updated in 2007, has successfully prevented the establishment of feral horse populations within Namadgi but ACT Environment Minister Mick Gentleman said recent modelling has shown that feral horse populations will continue to grow.

Mr Gentleman said the horses were a growing threat to the ACT’s national parks due to “the current management plan in our neighbouring states”.

The NSW Government passed the Wild Horse Heritage Act last year, protecting horses in Kosciuszko. At the time, NSW Deputy Premier and Member for Monaro John Barilaro said wild brumbies had become part of the “cultural fabric and folklore of the high country”.

Mr Gentleman said new research shows that feral horses are the largest cause of environmental degradation throughout Australia’s alpine parks and are reversing decades of costly alpine recovery programs.

“The growth in Kosciuszko National Park is predicted to lead to expansions into the ACT, with an estimated more than 6,000 horses now residing in Kosciuszko, which borders the ACT,” he said on Tuesday afternoon (14 May).

“We simply cannot let feral horses put our water supply and native flora and fauna at risk. Updating the management plan will draw on the latest scientific information to put us in a better position to respond to emerging threats.”

A bog in Namadgi National Park, which feeds the Lower Cotter Catchment, the ACT’s main source of drinking water. File photo.

ACT Parks and Conservation have threatened to kill any wild horses that cross into the ACT from Kosciuszko National Park in New South Wales to protect the ACT’s threatened plants, animals and water catchment.

Mr Gentleman said the Government’s revised Feral Horse Management Plan will outline a suite of management strategies and actions to prevent the establishment of feral horses in Namadgi, in addition to officially declaring feral horses as pest animals.

The ACT Government fears an established population inside the ACT would destroy delicate wetlands which provide the capital with 80 per cent of its drinking water, and the habitats of native species like the critically endangered northern corroboree frog.

Earlier this year, the risks of feral horses crossing into the ACT prompted Mr Gentleman to list unique wetlands in Namadgi National Park as ‘endangered’.

“The internationally significant Ginini Flats wetland complex in Namadgi National Park is the largest intact sphagnum bog and fen community in the Australian Alps,” Mr Gentleman said.

“The Park’s wetlands are home to the critically endangered Northern Corroboree Frogs as well as native Broad-toothed Rats, Alpine Tree Frogs, Reik’s Crayfish and Alpine Spiny Crayfish.

“The wetlands play an important role in filtering water that flows into the Lower Cotter Catchment area, a major source of our drinking water.”

A final version of the updated management plan is expected to be released in late 2019.

Original Article published by Lachlan Roberts on The RiotACT.

What's Your Opinion?

22 Responses to ACT Government to update brumbies management plan, declare brumbies ‘pest’ animals

Robyn Broughton Robyn Broughton 10:52 pm 19 May 19

How can they call them pests in UK they started to cull the New Forrest horses and learnt that they were needed to keep the grass down and other uses forget now as it was a long time I learnt of this. Horses are beautiful creatures makes me sad to think of them being culled

Graeme Betts Graeme Betts 8:23 am 19 May 19

these were not considered a pest when they were needed

Wally Law Wally Law 7:25 am 18 May 19


Margaret Bridget Minch O'carrol Margaret Bridget Minch O'carrol 7:10 am 18 May 19

Leve these beautiful animals alone

David Steer David Steer 6:57 pm 17 May 19

It's a farce in NSW - surely ACT has learnt something from 20 years of roo culls.

Deidre De Haya Deidre De Haya 6:06 pm 17 May 19

Oh my brumbies a pest to the environment. What about the human race and what they have and continue to do to the environment?

Carol Britten Carol Britten 5:41 pm 17 May 19

Shame on you people wanting to get rid of the Brumbies they are our heritage

Carol Britten Carol Britten 5:37 pm 17 May 19

Here go again blame the Brumbies for everything

John Gorman John Gorman 5:24 pm 17 May 19

Culling the horses will i crease pig numbers

Maybe a comprehensive plan tailored to horses, pigs, wild dogs, foxes etc (even blackberries and European wasps) not just one species

James Peel James Peel 4:57 pm 17 May 19

They certainly need to be culled.

Cath Lou Cath Lou 4:05 pm 17 May 19

Concentrate on the pigs first. They will desecrate the place. Then the deer that are in msssive numbers. Then the dangerous wild dogs. Then the feral cats. THEN get to the brumbies if you must. But make sure the blackberries are higher on the list as they are more destructive. Brumbies are a smokescreen because they are easy.

    John Perkins John Perkins 6:17 pm 17 May 19

    CathGilly, the feral horses are in fact one of the most significant threats to our alpine National Park areas, especially the wetlands, creeks and rivers. The export of sediment into these waterways is especially harmful to the aquatic environment.

Chris Holmes Chris Holmes 1:28 pm 17 May 19

An introduced animal that doesn’t belong in that environment. Get rid of them. NSW take note.

    Graeme Betts Graeme Betts 8:26 am 19 May 19

    some people are also an introduced species do you get rid of them slao

Josie Conlan Josie Conlan 12:59 pm 17 May 19

First the Roos now again the Brumbies shame shame

Lyndal Jenkins Lyndal Jenkins 11:27 am 17 May 19

More violence against animals.

    John Perkins John Perkins 12:24 pm 17 May 19

    Lyndal Jenkins, these feral horses, in their many thousands are causing horrific environmental damage to our alpine National Park areas including aquatic systems, our alpine areas are precious, they need looking after instead of being destroyed by feral horses. There is no place for horses in our alpine National Park areas.

    Jenny Robb Jenny Robb 3:10 pm 17 May 19

    Lyndal, your comment suggests that you only care for the brumbies, and not for the habitats of all the smaller animal species their presence is damaging. Horses should not be here. Sadly, it's because of inaction over too many years that even more animals will now need to die.

    Carol Britten Carol Britten 5:39 pm 17 May 19

    The brumbies don't cause that damage pigs and deer have cloven hooves which cause that sot of damage brumbies don't have cloven hooves so much misinformation being thrown about disgusting

    John Perkins John Perkins 6:14 pm 17 May 19

    Carol Britten, I'll take onboard the expertise of the NSW Scientific Committee in relation to the dire environmental damage these feral horses are causing to our alpine National Park areas over the feral horse fanatics any day.

Bill Jackson Bill Jackson 11:04 am 17 May 19

NSW please take note.