Snowy brumbies to be her­itage listed

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - NEWS - CHIEF RE­PORTER

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.

Pic­ture: Judy Gog­gin

Fa­mous Snowy brumby Pale­face and a foal from his mob in the na­tional park.

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