Amazing photographs as the brumbies of the Kosciusko fight for their survival.
YOUNG brumby stallions jousting among the ghost gums will remain part of the Snowy Mountains landscape after the NSW deputy premier vowed to save the wild horses, including a famous herd dubbed the Grey Mob.
Led by 10-year-old silver stallion Paleface, the Grey Mob has been the target of traps set by the Office of Environment and Heritage in the Kosciuszko National Park’s northern region, according to brumby supporters.
The traps are being used in the government cull of the legendary introduced animals from the 6900sq/km Kosciuszko National Park’s fragile environment.
But Deputy Premier John Bari- laro will effectively make the horses a protected species under a new brumby management plan that has been sitting on the shelf since 2015.
Asked if he will intervene to prevent the removal of the herd, known as the Grey Mob or The Mob, which leads to either their rehoming on private property, or more likely, their slaughter, he said: “Absolutely.”
“I don’t want to see the slaughter of those horses,” Mr Barilaro said. “If those horses are trapped they should be moved around to the parts of the park that we recognise can have horses.
“There is a lot of emotional connection to Paleface and The Mob. There are lots of beautiful photos of The Mob and I think that would be a travesty, on the eve of announcing plan of management, that those horses were destroyed.”
While some horses are sold off after they are trapped, many are sent to the abattoir.
Mr Barilaro’s move would effectively leave Paleface to roam free until the end of his natural life.
Mr Barilaro said under the new Wildhorse Management Plan aerial culling, where brumbies are shot from a helicopter would be “a method of last resort”. Shooting has been advocated by green groups as the most humane way to cull the animals. The current method, where the horses are lured with molasses and then loaded onto trucks, can often result in often fatal injuries.
Mr Barilaro, whose Monaro electorate is held by a slender 2 per cent margin, also indicated that the brumby population will most likely hover around 5000.
An official report estimated there were between 4000 and 8000 horses in the park in 2014. Environmental groups advocate slashing the population to about 300 because of the damage they cause.
“When you are setting targets of only leaving 300 horses in the park, you are talking about wiping them out,” Mr Barilaro said.
“But people do recognise the heritage value of the brumbies. There is a connection for anyone in my region and broadly I think, across Australia.
“That connection is not just because of Banjo Paterson and the Man from Snowy River and all the emotion attached to that, there is a genuine belief that they are part of the landscape.
Cooma photographer Paul McIver captured just that imagery when he photographed Paleface’s son Bogong play fighting around Kiandra on Anzac Day.
Paleface’s son Bogong testing his strength against another young brumby stallion near Kiandra. Picture: Paul McIver
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