Brumby dan­ger back to crit­i­cal

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - KELSIE IORIO kelsi. iorio@ news. com. au

TWO years af­ter more than 100 horses were shot north of Townsville fol­low­ing the deaths of a teenage boy and a mo­tor­cy­clist, brumbies are back in large numbers.

The horses have been seen on or near the Bruce High­way be­tween Deer­a­gun and Rollings­tone, caus­ing traf­fic chaos, with lo­cals fear­ing it will only be a mat­ter of time be­fore there are more deaths.

Fol­low­ing the deaths of By­ron Crow­ley, 15, and mo­tor­cy­clist Bernard Ash­ton Davis in 2015, the State Govern­ment or­dered a cull.

Townsville City Coun­cil re­cently gave land­hold­ers the power to take ac­tion against the an­i­mals af­ter in­creased sight­ings near the high­way.

The Depart­ment of Trans­port and Main Roads has re­ceived 22 no­ti­fi­ca­tions since Jan­uary re­gard­ing live­stock on or near the high­way be­tween Townsville and Ing­ham, in­clud­ing do­mes­tic cat­tle, wild horses and do­mes­tic horses.

A Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­ment and Her­itage Pro­tec­tion spokesman said that, while there was no spe­cific cull pro­posed, if horses were de­tected in dan­ger­ous ar­eas, they were tar­geted for re­moval.

“An­i­mals lo­cated will be hu­manely de­stroyed,” the spokesman said.

“Of­fi­cers in­volved in any feral horse con­trol pro­gram com­ply with an­i­mal wel­fare re­quire­ments and strictly ad­here to na­tional model codes of prac­tice and stan­dard op­er­at­ing pro­ce­dures for their hu­mane con­trol.”

The depart­ment said feral an­i­mals were the re­spon­si­bil­ity of landown­ers and en­cour­aged pri­vate own­ers to seek ad­vice on brumby man­age­ment.

“Land­hold­ers can help by en­sur­ing fences … are well main­tained, not feed­ing or wa­ter­ing feral horses and pre­vent­ing do­mes­tic stock from stray­ing,” the spokesman said.

Uni­ver­sity of South­ern Queens­land re­search fel­low Dave Ber­man, who has worked with brumbies for more than 30 years, said a cal­cu­lated ap­proach to re­mov­ing wild brumbies from an area was key.

“You really need to now how many there are there and what por­tion you’re tak­ing out,” he said. “With­out know­ing the amount ( sic) of horses you need to take out to fix the prob­lem, you’re work­ing in the dark.

“Go­ing out blaz­ing and killing an un­known num­ber rarely solves the prob­lem.”

Brumby sight­ings can be re­ported to Po­licelink on 131 444 or the Queens­land Traf­fic Hot­line on 13 19 40.

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