13 January 2021

Reclaim Kosci wild horse petition deadline looms

| Edwina Mason
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Wild horses grazing in Kosciuszko National Park.

Through Reclaim Kosci’s current e-petition, it hopes, among other things, to repeal the Kosciuszko Wild Horse Heritage Act that passed in NSW Parliament in June 2018. Photo: Reclaim Kosci.

Eleventh hour efforts are being made by Reclaim Kosci to secure the 20,000 signatures required for an e-petition that would trigger a second NSW Parliamentary debate on the issue of wild horses in Kosciuszko National Park.

With 10,500 signatures already secured, the final push to get the remaining 9500 names nailed before the 11:59 pm deadline on Wednesday, 13 January, means more volunteers on streets, a strong social media push and a little help from some friends.

Last month, it was rock star former federal minister Peter Garrett who loaned his support to the effort when he flew into the national park to see – by air and on the ground – the damage wrought by the horse population.

It was during this visit when Mr Garrett urged park enthusiasts and supporters to sign the Reclaim Kosci petition, which seeks to get the Kosciuszko Wild Horse Heritage Act 2018 debated and then repealed in NSW Parliament.

Wild horses running in Kosciuszko National Park.

“The future of Kosciuszko National Park is under threat from unmanaged horse populations and a law that gives priority to horses ahead of its native wildlife,” said conservation officer and Reclaim Kosci campaigner Candice Bartlett. Photo: Supplied.

This is a second petition attempt by Reclaim Kosci, which is an umbrella organisation for a consortium of groups seeking to protect Kosciuszko National Park from the impact of wild horses.

The first, with 12,000 signatures, was voted down by NSW Government MPs in the state’s lower house in 2019.

Launched in October 2020, Reclaim Kosci said its new e-petition would give Kosciuszko National Park supporters another chance to urge action on out-of-control wild horse numbers.

“The future of Kosciuszko National Park is under threat from unmanaged horse populations and a law that gives priority to horses ahead of its native wildlife,” said conservation officer and Reclaim Kosci campaigner Candice Bartlett.

“Since the last horse petition was presented to NSW Parliament in August 2019, the park remains without a horse management plan and the horse population in Kosciuszko National Park has continued to grow.”

The new e-petition is not only calling on the NSW Legislative Assembly to repeal the Kosciuszko Wild Horse Heritage Act 2018, but to also urgently implement a new Kosciuszko horse management plan and fund a restoration program for horse affected areas in Kosciuszko National Park.

Efforts ramped up in December 2020 as Reclaim Kosci mounted a recruitment campaign for volunteer coordinators.

“We’ve been really pleased with the support so far, particularly while things slowed down during Christmas and COVID-19 developments,” said Ms Bartlett. “My team of more than 13 volunteers encouraged up to 500 signatures in the Blue Mountains and another 1000 were gathered by our volunteers down in Kosciuszko National Park.

“We still expect more signatures to roll in during the coming hours.”

NSW conservation groups are also stepping up.

“Just last week, one of the original five founders of the Reclaim Kosci campaign – the Nature Conservation Council – called its supporters to action, resulting in a big jump in signees,” said Ms Bartlett.

“20,000 signatures automatically triggers debate in the House, however the petition will still be tabled in the NSW Legislative Assembly and we will be urging members of parliament – including the petition’s sponsor, Member for Wagga Wagga Dr Joe McGirr – to debate the petition’s urgent call for action.

“It’s been two years since the Kosciuszko Wild Horse Heritage Act was introduced and we are still waiting to see the long awaited management plan that promised to reduce horse numbers to protect sensitive habitats.

“In the past few months, we’ve seen support for Kosciuszko National Park coming from all sides of politics, with current Federal Minster for the Environment Sussan Ley, and rock legend and former Labor Minister for the Environment Peter Garrett, calling for better management of horses in the park. It’s time to break the cycle of inaction NSW is stuck in.”

Ms Bartlett said the silent upshot of their campaigns has been public awareness.

“What’s been eye-opening during the petition process is the level of awareness that now exists in communities since the campaign first started more than two years ago,” she said.

“Many more people are aware that horses don’t belong in national parks and that their removal, alongside other pests, is critical for the protection of unique and fragile Australian habitats.”

To access Reclaim Kosci’s e-petition, click here.

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Daniel McLaughlin8:49 pm 17 Jan 21

Habitat should be preserved, horses nead culling catching asap

Stephen Erlandsen6:02 pm 17 Jan 21

I am a former soil conservation officer in Victoria, so am well versed with the issues. Get rid of all the feral horses humanely from KNP

The horses need to go!

John O'Brien6:27 pm 16 Jan 21

Get rid of them now. They don’t belong there.

They are pretty well worse then rabbits and cats to the enviroment

Wallace Wight4:11 pm 16 Jan 21

Feral horses are destructive to the landscape and to habitat necessary for native species.

Diane Margaret Middleton2:28 pm 16 Jan 21

These horses are not native, and therefore feral. I understand that something has to be done, but please do it a humanly as possible. If you can’t get a clean shot, then don’t pull the trigger.

Get rid of them, not only are they killing the environment but they are starving themselves out too.

judith sheehan10:26 am 16 Jan 21

With Australia being one of three nations with ANY ‘wild’ environment – there may be only two nations left if Australia continues to adopt the lazy, indefensible, 3-monkey principle.

Russell Cavanagh8:11 am 16 Jan 21

Remove all the invasive critters horses are awesome but have there place and our national parks are not one of them

Brumbies do not belong in the alpine areas of australia. They are not native and do untold damage to this fragile ecosystem. Brumbies are incompatible with our duty to protect and conserve the native flora and fauna of this unique area.

My Opinion on the Brumby Act 2019?

Consider damage & report damage done by pigs & deer.
Notwithstanding 4WD & dirt bikes & last but not least – Snowy2 & the rape & degradation of the Mountain.

There a maximum of 2500 on the entire Snowy Mountains Kosciusko National Park.
A person visually from a helicopter (with mountains terrain to peer through) head counting horses & then applying flawed number extrapolation?
It’s the 21st Century – not 1770

Max Hemmerle11:18 am 15 Jan 21

Wild horses do not belong into National Parks. Their hooves are incredibly damaging to the environment, and their poo will spread weeds.

I love our environment as much as the next person but I prefer an unbiased approach. When deer and pigs are more than abundant and the horses cop all the blame I question why there is no mention of them. When feral cats and foxes kill countless native animals I question why the brumbies are the targets. When introduced weeds are out of control but left to grow rampant I wonder why. When the damage to the waterways by 4WD weekend warriors is horrific and passed off as brumby damage I question that too. When horrible irresponsible humans trash things i question if they too should be culled.

Greg Chappel9:33 pm 14 Jan 21

Get rid of all feral animals in National Parks

Warwick Keen9:08 pm 14 Jan 21

The horses are damaging the environment and they need to go. End of story, get them out of the National Parks.

Kate Loughton6:53 pm 14 Jan 21

They have to go – humanely of course.

Jacklyn Nowland5:59 pm 14 Jan 21

Save the horses

It’s an environmental catastrophe caused by well-meaning people. A humane cull is required.

I believe the horses need to be culled to protect our precious environment.

Wild horses in these numbers have no place in Kosciuszko National Park and must be removed

Stephen Beeby2:07 pm 14 Jan 21

Please remove all feral horses from Australia’s National Parks.

The horses should be eliminated

Patricia Hogan12:54 pm 14 Jan 21

I love all animals , had my own horse as a child but the damage that is being done in the National Park needs serious conversation regarding the huge amount now roaming the area. Causing a lot of damage to the park.

I’m an animal lover, but that doesn’t extend to feral animals which are doing untold damage to our native flora and fauna. These brumbies must be controlled by any and every means available.

Serah Melhuish12:01 pm 14 Jan 21

Horses should not be in the national park there hoofs do a lot of damage to the fragile environment

If they can’t be rehomed they must be humanely culled. This is not the place for horses, wonderful creatures though they are.

Doug Summers10:48 am 14 Jan 21

Jsut because its traditional, it does not mean it’s right! Particularly when traditional is 120 years and limited to a few hundred people. Time to put our valuable environment first for a change, and as you always say ‘ stop pandering to the minority’. I wonder who gets a seat around your discussion table?

They have every right to roam as free as we do!!

Catherine Link10:08 am 14 Jan 21

The future of Kosciuszko National Park is under threat from unmanaged horse populations and a law that gives priority to horses ahead of its native wildlife.

Karen Holloway9:49 am 14 Jan 21

I think culling is important for the environment. That way brumbies are still there but not in such high numbers and the land could then recover over time.

I adore horses, but they have no place in a fragile alpine environment and there will never be enough competent horse-people to provide them with homes

Merrilyn Hogan9:15 am 14 Jan 21

Horses do not belong in the high country

Richard Vaughan9:05 am 14 Jan 21

The horses have become like rabbits and need to be culled

Robyn Elliott8:46 am 14 Jan 21

Feral Horses are wrecking the delicate ecosystem of Kosciuszko National Park. They needed to be culled and removed from the National Park

Needs to be a cull of all introduced species in all our national parks and forests, all cats should be desexed,

Beverley Critcher8:11 am 14 Jan 21

Horses, although I love them, do not belong there, they are doing too much damage, please let our lands go back to what they can sustain, too many people, too many of the wrong animals, too destructive.

We should be trying to get rid of all feral animals regardless if someone thinks they are pretty.

Certain Government Departments actually need to do more about eradicating Feral dogs and cats also foxes, because they are killing off our Wildlife. The Brumbies don’t kill our wildlife intentionally.

Either round them up and sell them as great genetic stock, or get rid of every last one from the high country. They are doing a huge amount of damage

Dennis Nickell11:53 pm 13 Jan 21

We need to cull the feral animals in the Park if we want a natural ecosystem. Horses are too destructive to the environment.

Please don’t kill these beautiful wild animals, surely they can be auctioned off for charity.

Sentimentality for an animal, already over bred by the racing industry, is no reason not to provide protection from the damage this introduced species is doing to a fragile and unique natural asset, which is already coming under increasing pressure due to global warming and its associated threats. I am part of the equestrian community and fully support the removal of all wild horses and other feral pests from the park.

Alison Scott11:00 pm 13 Jan 21

Round some up Break them in sell them to the Pubic . Start a riding School . Don’t just Slaughter them they played a big Part in a Australia’s History . Heritage listed .

Feral horses damage the ecology and may cause extinction of native plants. They are introduced animals whose hard hoofs compact the soil.

Rebecca Sweeney10:27 pm 13 Jan 21

This national park needs rewinding- with endemic species- and feral ones compassionately eliminated

Save our highlands.

And also the New England national parks. They are destroying the natural habitat.

Sotiri Tzelios10:00 pm 13 Jan 21

Please save Kosci from these feral horses

Ashley Thomson9:59 pm 13 Jan 21

Meaningful action needed.

Geoff Squires9:53 pm 13 Jan 21

Get rid of all feral animals

No national habitat should be destroyed.

Brandess Sorrels9:42 pm 13 Jan 21

The horse manure keeps the soil alive. Other animals live alongside them well. I see no reason to exterminate then.

Robin Kosick9:40 pm 13 Jan 21

The brumbies are heritage, they should stay …

Contributing to environmental destruction must end.

A National Park should be a place to preserve the native species and untampered ecologies. Horses must be removed before it’s too late for endangered species like the Corroboree frog.

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