Rapidly increasing numbers of wild horses in some of NSW's most beautiful protected areas, such as Mount Kosciuszko are causing widespread damage to ecosystems.
The much-needed Draft Kosciuszko Wild Horse Management Plan 2016 is currently on public exhibition until 19 August 2016.
The draft plan, developed with input from an Independent Technical Reference Group and after extensive community engagement, is a review of the 2008 Kosciuszko National Parks Horse Management Plan.
Due largely to the horse lobby, trapping and removal were the only methods of control recommended in the original plan. These methods proved completely ineffective for controlling the park’s horse population with numbers doubling in size from an estimated 3,000 individuals in 2008, to 6,000 in 2014. This has resulted in widespread and significant environmental damage and cost taxpayers an estimated 3.6 million.
A substantial and rapid reduction of wild horse numbers through effective, humane control measures is needed to prevent further damage to the park. Though a more ambitious plan would have been preferable, NPA support the draft plan in its current form as the minimum that should be implemented.
We encourage you to put in a submission to the draft plan by the 19 August closing date. A submission guide has been developed to assist you.
Currently NSW's has 877 protected areas covering 7 million hectares (about 9% of the state). This is an important achievement, and NSW can be justly proud of its reserve system, however with many significant areas remaining unprotected, there is still lots more work to do. In NSW, 6 bioregions and 49 subregions have less than 5% of their area protected and 11 subregions have no protected areas at all.
The New South Wales National Parks Establishment Plan 2008 highlights the range of areas and ecosystems where the establishment of more reserves is a high priority. These include all the far western bioregions; riverine forest communities of the Murray, Murrumbidgee, Lachlan and Darling rivers; box eucalypt woodlands and native grasslands; iconic places of special significance to Aboriginal people; and important existing and future climate change refuges.
NPA’s Reserves Establishment Committee identifies strategic opportunities for expanding the NSW protected area system, particularly in underrepresented areas and ecosystems, and develops reserve proposals and submissions to government.
Comprehensive, Adequate and Representative
The basic principle behind the development of the NSW protected area system is the Comprehensive, Adequate and Representative (‘CAR’) principle.
This means that the NSW reserve system has to be:
The NSW government is currently promoting a significant increase in horse riding in national parks and is greatly extending the areas where horse riding is allowed, including within wilderness areas and nature reserves. The plan is laid out in their “Strategic Directions for Horse Riding in NSW National Parks”. NPA opposes this decision to expand horse riding in NSW national parks and reserves.
Read more: Horse riding in national parks and wilderness