Environment

Reclaim Kosci wild horse petition deadline looms

Edwina Mason13 January 2021
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to sign the Reclaim Kosci petition, which seeks to get the Kosciuszko Wild Horse Heritage Act 2018 debated and then repealed in NSW Parliament.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.

What's Your Opinion?

56 Responses to Reclaim Kosci wild horse petition deadline looms

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Daniel Down Daniel Down 2:25 pm 13 Jan 21

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.

Julie Julie 2:56 pm 13 Jan 21

Contributing to environmental destruction must end.

Robin Kosick Robin Kosick 9:40 pm 13 Jan 21

The brumbies are heritage, they should stay …

Brandess Sorrels Brandess Sorrels 9:42 pm 13 Jan 21

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

Mattie Mattie 9:44 pm 13 Jan 21

No national habitat should be destroyed.

Geoff Squires Geoff Squires 9:53 pm 13 Jan 21

Get rid of all feral animals

Ashley Thomson Ashley Thomson 9:59 pm 13 Jan 21

Meaningful action needed.

Sotiri Tzelios Sotiri Tzelios 10:00 pm 13 Jan 21

Please save Kosci from these feral horses

Kay pell Kay pell 10:09 pm 13 Jan 21

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

David Price David Price 10:19 pm 13 Jan 21

Save our highlands.

Rebecca Sweeney Rebecca Sweeney 10:27 pm 13 Jan 21

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

Susan Susan 10:57 pm 13 Jan 21

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

Alison Scott Alison Scott 11:00 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 .

Pam Salter Pam Salter 11:12 pm 13 Jan 21

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.

carol bryce carol bryce 11:17 pm 13 Jan 21

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

Dennis Nickell Dennis Nickell 11:53 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.

simon james simon james 12:53 am 14 Jan 21

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

David Danne David Danne 6:50 am 14 Jan 21

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.

Conrad Ball Conrad Ball 7:06 am 14 Jan 21

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

Beverley Critcher Beverley Critcher 8:11 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.

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