Bet­ter news for brumbies in flooded Barmah For­est

The Riverine Herald - - NEWS - By So­phie Bald­win

BARMAH For­est’s starv­ing brumbies might be turn­ing the corner al­though the vol­un­teers feed­ing them think they will be needed for at least two more months.

The big is­sue they are now con­fronting is whether they have fought so hard to save the horses only to have Parks Vic­to­ria shoot them.

Barmah is known for two things – its Na­tional Park and its brumbies.

Ten weeks ago the ma­jor­ity of the brumbies in the Park were starv­ing to death and if it wasn’t for the de­ter­mi­na­tion and ded­i­ca­tion of the Barmah Brumby Preser­va­tion Group (BBPG), these wild an­i­mals, which have in­hab­ited the park for close to two cen­turies, most cer­tainly would have been wiped out af­ter a slow and cruel death.

Since Novem­ber the group and its band of vol­un­teers have been feed­ing do­nated hay on pri­vate prop­erty ad­ja­cent to the park.

Sup­ple­mented by money that has been com­ing from around the world and into the group’s GoFundMe page – in­clud­ing $3000 from a man in Ire­land and $1000 from a woman in Canada.

BBPG pres­i­dent Mur­ray Wil­la­ton said di­rect sup­port from the com­mu­nity and through their so­cial me­dia has been amaz­ing – their Face­book group has now grown to more than 6000 mem­bers.

“Peo­ple all over the coun­try and around the world have shown their sup­port and do­nated to our cause,” he said.

“As well as the money to help us pur­chase hay, the Thor­ough­bred and har­ness rac­ing in­dus­tries have also jumped on board and do­nated semi loads of hay which have pro­vided so much help for us.

“Our lit­tle group has worked so hard to save these brumbies and it would be tragic and de­mor­al­is­ing if Parks Vic­to­ria con­tin­ued to shoot them af­ter so much time, effort and money has gone into sav­ing them over the past cou­ple of months.”

Mur­ray said the ma­jor­ity of brumbies were now look­ing OK de­spite Parks Vic­to­ria’s re­fusal to help the sit­u­a­tion.

“There is still not an abun­dance of feed in the park. The Moira grasses are re­ally strug­gling af­ter be­ing flooded at the wrong time of the year so we think we will con­tinue to feed the brumbies for a cou­ple of months yet,” Mur­ray said.

Parks Vic­to­ria’s man­age­ment of the sit­u­a­tion has been widely crit­i­cised in Aus­tralia and around the world, af­ter it chose to im­ple­ment a plan of sim­ply let­ting the brumbies starve and shooting them when their body con­di­tion score dropped below 1.5.

Mur­ray said BBPG mem­bers have sighted more than 50 car­cases and that fig­ure is only in­clu­sive of the ar­eas mem­bers can get to.

“We can’t get into any flooded ar­eas. We don’t know how many brumbies have been lost in to­tal but we know most of the foals have per­ished.”

STRONG EFFORT: Barmah Brumby Preser­va­tion Group mem­bers Gerry Moor, Kaye Moor, Sue Lubke and Mur­ray Wil­la­ton have helped res­cue many of the for­est’s en­dan­gered horses.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.