Snowy brumbies to be heritage listed
THEY were made famous in the Banjo Paterson poem “The Man from Snowy River”, now the brumbies in the Snowy Mountains are to be given legal recognition as part of Australia’s heritage.
In an unprecedented move by the state government to stop the slaughter of thousands of wild horses, Nationals leader John Barilaro and Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton will introduce the so-called “brumbies bill” into Parliament next week to set the framework for giving the horses legal protection.
Culling, which is underway in the Kosciuszko National Park to protect its fragile environment, will be halted with a “wild horse community advisory panel” comprising ministerial, animal welfare, tourism, indigenous, environment and community representatives to be established to conduct a re-count of the population.
Horses found to be having an environmental impact will be relocated to less-sensitive areas of the park with the committee to advise on non-lethal methods, such as fertility control, of reducing numbers
The new laws will require Ms Upton to prepare a “heritage management plan” for the brumbies which will identify areas within the National Park where populations will be maintained, while setting management rules.
Mr Barilaro, said the primary focus of the committee would be rehoming with a national marketing campaign to be launched to encourage members of the public to adopt a brumby.
The proposed new laws put in question moves by the state government’s NSW Threatened Species Scientific Committee this month to legally list the horse population as a “key threatening process” to native wildlife.
But Mr Barilaro, whose electorate of Monaro includes the much-loved Kiandra brumby mob led by grey stallion “Paleface”, said the horses had a place in the park, having roamed the Australian Alps for almost 200 years while becoming “part of the cultural fabric and folklore of the high country”.
“The heritage management plan will specifically prohibit lethal culling of the brumby, aerial or otherwise, and will identify those areas in the park where brumbies can roam without causing significant environmental harm,” Mr Barilaro said.
“If brumbies are found in highly sensitive alpine areas of Kosciuszko National Park, resources will be allocated towards relocation first, followed by rehoming, should population numbers grow too high.
“I have always opposed cruel forms of culling and have advocated for non-lethal ways of managing brumby numbers. Kosciuszko National Park exists to protect the unique environment of the Snowy Mountains, and that unique environment includes wild brumbies.”
The exact number of horses in the park has been the subject of heated debate with locals challenging the figure of 6000 as put forward by an Independent Technical Reference Group set up by the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service to guide the future management of the horses.
The existing draft fiveyear Kosciuszko National Park Wild Horse Management Plan had recommended reducing that figure by 90 per cent, leaving about 600 horses in the park, based on “serious concerns” of the impact the brumbies were having on the unique alpine reserve.
The 6900sq km Kosciuszko park is the largest national park in NSW and one of the largest conservation reserves in Australia, containing the sole true mainland alpine zone.
Famous Snowy brumby Paleface and a foal from his mob in the national park.