Shooting of wild horses at Kosciuszko National Park halts amid review into management plan

The New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service has suspended all ground hunting under the Wild Horse Management Plan in Kosciuszko National Park pending a review.

Warning: This story contains photos that may concern some people.

The state’s Environment Secretary James Griffin last week ordered a review of the plan’s implementation after 11 horses were discovered shot in the national park.

The New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) said in a statement that its staff are required “by law” to reduce the number of wild horses in Kosciuszko National Park from 14,000 to 3,000 by 2027.

“NPWS has to implement a number of control measures, including catch and rehomed and ground shooting,” a spokesman said.

“Passive capture and housing will be prioritized where practical and consistent with the highest welfare outcomes.”

Wild horse advocates raised concerns about the method of killing the 11 horses at Kiandra, prompting the review.

Two dead wild horses in the grass.
The evaluation was triggered after photos of dead brumbies surfaced.(Delivered: Photographer Kiki)

NPWS said the horses found dead in Kiandra were culled by staff performing ground shots in accordance with “the highest animal welfare standards.”

“RSPCA NSW has independently responded to complaints of animal cruelty received,” the spokesman said.

“Their investigation found no evidence of any breach of the NSW Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979.”

It also dismissed reports that the horses bled to death or were shot in the gut.

Balanced approach required

Monaro MP Nichole Overall said there were a number of other elements of the plan that also needed to be considered in the review.

“[That includes] the carcass management of the animals left behind,” she said.

“There are concerns that it has not been properly addressed.”

Ms Overall said it was important to reassure the community that a balanced approach was being taken.

“It’s about finding that balance to manage the horses and conserve the park’s most endangered wilderness areas,” she said.

“We need to ensure that this is done in line with the intent of the management plan.”

A woman in a purple jacket and hat is standing in a yard with two brumbies.
Capturing and housing wild horses are some of the methods used to reduce numbers in Kosciuszko National Park.(ABC News: Jess Davis)

The review will be expanded to also examine the security measures used in other wildlife operations in Kosciuszko National Park.

NPWS staff run other programs to control the numbers of wild boar, fox, dog, deer and goat.

Verification of the implementation of the wild horse management plan is expected to be completed by October 4th.

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