28 January 2022

Snowy Mountains rally marks first challenge to final wild horse plan

| Edwina Mason
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The magnificent Long Plain in the Snowy Mountains will be the site of a brumby supporter rally this weekend. Photo: Supplied.

The grassy expanse known as Long Plain in the Snowy Mountains will be tinged with red this weekend as brumby supporters rally to reject the continued culling of wild horses in the region by the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS).

The rally marks the first substantial NSW challenge to the final plan for managing wild horses in Kosciuszko National Park (KNP), released in late November by then NSW Environment Minister Matt Kean.

Around 600 red painted wooden pickets have been prepared for the event. Photo: Snowy Mountain Brumby Sustainability Management Group.

Front and centre of the plan is a staged reduction in the overall wild horse population from an estimated 14,380 to 3000 horses by 30 June 2027.

About half of the national park that is currently free of horses will remain so. Horses will be removed from a further 21 per cent of the park but will continue to graze on a third of the park, in places such as Kiandra Plains.

Trapping and rehoming of horses will be one control method, as will ground shooting. Aerial shooting is not part of the plan because of a “significant risk” it would “result in a loss of the social licence to remove wild horses from the national park”.

This, Mr Kean said, struck the right balance between protecting the heritage value of the wild horses and maintaining the exceptional conservation values of our state’s largest national park.

But, at 10:30 am on Saturday 29 January, gates at Long Plain will be flanked by hundreds of red-painted wooden pickets as the rally gets underway.

Snowy Mountain Brumby Sustainability Management Group (SMBSMG) president Diane Hardley said the 500 stakes represented brumbies trapped and removed from KNP and those supporters unable to attend.

“For each $5 stake purchased in recent months we have raised enough money to allow NSW Animal Justice Party (AJP) MLC Emma Hurst to take a flight over the mountains to see the brumbies for herself,” Ms Hardley said.

“Through her first-hand observations and using video footage, Emma will then be able to challenge the false numbers on the floor of parliament and share that information with the new NSW Environment Minister James Griffin.”


Brumby groups across the nation are starting to unite under one banner. Photo: SMBSMG.

The rally will be addressed by animal protection activist Frankie Seymour, the Animal Justice Party’s candidate for next month’s Monaro by-election, and long-time Tumut resident and historian Rob Collman, who will touch on the brumbies’ heritage.

SMBSMG spokesperson Alan Lanyon said the gathering would inform and educate attendees about brumbies and what he considers to be hyperbole contained in the 2020 Wild Horse Management Plan.

“Attendees at Saturday’s public forum will have the opportunity to take part in a guided tour of the park and will be provided with literature that speaks to the facts about the brumby populations,” he said, “not the misinformation and inflated numbers cited by the government.”

He joins a list of people who have called into question the wild horse population numbers, calculated based on statistical analysis of aerial surveys, used as the basis of the 2021 Kosciuszko National Park Wild Horse Heritage Management Plan.

Mr Lanyon, from Gundagai, has been a long-time witness to the evolving mountain landscape and says, if the culling continues at the rate of 600 wild horses per year, in a few years there won’t be a brumby left in the northern section of KNP.

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Having travelled the length and breadth of the park on foot, horseback and in a helicopter, he reckons around 1700 wild horses remain.

He said a recent count from a helicopter in the north of the park found 838 horses.

The stakes will be driven into the ground near the entrance to Long Plain before the rally begins on Saturday. Photo: SMBSMG.

“Although clearly some may not have been spotted, it would be impossible for them to have missed 11,673 horses,” he claimed.

The supposed annual wild horse population increase of 37 per cent in the North Kosciuszko area between 2014 and 2019, he says is almost double the accepted scientific maximum.

“This was pointed out in the peer review by St Andrews University and by the minister’s Scientific Advisory Panel (SAP) in their final report and no feasible explanation has ever been given.”

Mr Lanyon said, before any further management was undertaken, it was imperative to know how many horses remain in the park.

He says a new count needed to be undertaken as soon as possible, either using drones and cameras or a spotting count that is done every year by NPWS.

“But,” he argued, “this must involve wild horse advocates.”

Mr Lanyon said Saturday’s rally was about harnessing community power to drive the message forward.


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George Raymond8:34 am 30 Jan 22

Horses belong in paddocks.

Most everything written about feral horses by Alan Lanyon, SMBSMG and/or The Animal Justice mob of suburban social media hacks is fiction.

If you cannot afford or have room to keep a horse then there is no legitimacy in your feral horse rhetoric.

Good article. It is disgusting how the government and some radical scintitist have lost their moral compass. Mr. Cairns who designed the “scientific” counting tool, along with the st. Andrews University have both raised their concern about how a sighting of 1700 or so horses could turn into first 25000 and then also suddenly 14000 horses. An increase in horse numbers that is neither scientific nor physical possible. Yet, no one does anything about it. Obvioualy the counting tool is only as good as the figure added. Maybe Mr. Cairns should assist the government on how to use his designed tool.
We cannot make a honest and effective managing plan, if we cannot be honest about the factual numbers.

Baylis Merrilyn9:26 am 29 Jan 22

It is disgusting what is happening.
Time the truth was told good luck to everyone to-day.

OMG the horse feral horses destroying the Kiandra Plains were counted using ‘scientific methods’ several times, counts were done totally independently but feral horsey people rather count from one obviously biased politician’s flyover or one rider’s ride through and believe these bogus biased estimates…. you dummies. If you applied your scientific methods with Covid we would all be dead! Believe the science people or kiss the National Park goodbye.

You are the dummies… lost any credibility for name calling. Rudeness sucks

Peter Marshall7:26 am 29 Jan 22

How terribly sad
Nice , well intentioned people supporting the destruction of one of the most special landscapes on the planet
The photo tells a story of compacted , dying soils , stream pollution , erosion and dehydration
What colour stakes can I buy to support the few gorgeous marsupials before their last habitat is crushed ?
PA Marshall

Dianne Colbeck8:31 pm 28 Jan 22

The Numbers of Brumbies being quoted by NSW Government and Parks,is False.There must be an accurate count done,They are about 11,000 overNo Way is there 14,000+.Why?
Ask the Locals,they know how the Parks are being turned into Deserted Wastelands.Hidden Agenda’s?
Start Digging for the Truth behind Eradicating our Heritage Brumbies.Many are Decendants of the Lighthorse.Lest We Forget.

Please do a follow up on this story. I would have got some pegs if I had known about them.

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