Brumby danger back to critical
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.