Horses and heritage

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Re: Horses and heritage

Postby Zapruda » Tue 24 Sep, 2019 9:08 am

Thanks for the info. I'm glad I got a couple of trips in to Cooleman plain and surrounds this winter. It is one of my favourite areas in the park. Sorry that your plans are messed up. The ranger I spoke to on Friday morning said nothing about an exclusion zone in the gorges or on the plain. Seems over the top in my opinion.

I agree that the traps will barely make a dent in the population. I see easily 100+ horses a day in that part of the park and struggle to find a place to pitch the tent that isn't covered in horse droppings. Not to mention the horse pads in every direction on the plains. Those tracks look like a professional has made them.

A UNESCO Biosphere that has been lost to feral animals. Its utterly deplorable.
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Re: Horses and heritage

Postby peregrinator » Tue 24 Sep, 2019 9:35 am

The last few posts make some very convincing statements. I wonder whether it's worth sending them to the premier's office. These "boots on the ground" reports (about what's on the ground!) make a potent case. Would one of the authors of recent posts (Zapruda, LachlanB, johnrs, Xplora) consider it a useful thing to copy those statements and forward them to the premier? I was thinking I might do that myself, but as I'm not a resident of ACT or NSW, that might not be received so well.
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Re: Horses and heritage

Postby Zapruda » Tue 24 Sep, 2019 9:58 am

Its a great idea Peregrinator.

I have years of photos and videos chronicling the horses in the Northern Frost Plains. I had a chat with Dr Graeme Worboys of ANU a few months ago about properly documenting everything I have seen up there over the years. He suggested that it must be written in a way that cant be leveraged by the pro horse crowd and be detrimental to the cause. I am not great at this kind of thing but maybe with the help of others we could put something together?

I have seen creeks disappear and become mud pits, tussock become packed earth, kangaroos disappearing, huts being "patrolled" by horses etc. The change is happening fast. 10 years ago there wasn't much to be alarmed about but the change to the landscape over the past 5 years has been swift and incredibly visible. I am not saying this as someone that visits the park once or twice a year. I am out there every weekend on foot.

I'd be happy to talk to anyone who has some experience putting together things like this.
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Re: Horses and heritage

Postby LachlanB » Tue 24 Sep, 2019 10:25 am

I wish that it would help. Save Kosci put a huge amount of effort into collating evidence and personal accounts of the damage that feral horses were doing, and were basically shrugged off by the NSW government. It's a government that time and time again has shown that it doesn't respond well to criticism of its policies, especially environmental ones.

Myself, I'm a caver and a bushwalker. Been more of a caver lately, and have thus had a lot of trips to Yagby (Yarrangobilly) and Cooleman, maybe 6 in the past year, with a couple more planned over the coming month. I don't have the longest connection with both, as I grew up in Sydney before I moved to the ACT, but I was incredibly excited a couple of years ago when I first managed visit first Yagby and then Cooleman. Cooleman in particular is an absolutely amazing place- wide open plains, a fascinatingly complex karst landscape, stunning caves, three beautiful gorges, sub-alpine woodland, a wall of mountains lurking on the horizon, and a complex Indigenous and European history. It's the sort of place you could spend decades exploring and still be finding new things to love. But it's also a fragile landscape, with little details that can be lost only too easily like the limestone A-Tents (http://www.ackma.org/Proceedings/procee ... Spate.html). And everywhere those details are being obliterated by the destructive presence of the horses in the plains. A-tents bulldozed by horse hooves, waterholes sullied, creeks turned in muddy wallows, cave streams no longer fit to drink, a labyrinth of tracks forced through the vegetation (each one eroding and pouring silt into the waterways), food sources for native animals obliterated by the insatiable hunger of a legion of starving feral horses.

The horses impact people too the first response to them is 'ooh, brumbie!', but then you have more to do with them. They invade campgrounds (as safe spaces from the feral dogs), stampede past tents in the night with bare centimeters separating the occupants from the horses' hooves, leave mountains of dung in most every open space so that clamber through the stuff constantly to go anywhere (last time I was at Cooleman, the mounds of horse poo would have been about 3m apart), menace campers for food, scratch themselves on parked cars, rummage through campfires and campsites at night in their dozens, and are an everpresent driving nightmare. Over the last couple of years I've seen the scale of their impact on Cooleman in particular, but also Yagby, exponentially increase. It's getting to the point where such a delightful place can be downright unpleasant to be at, as you try and pick somewhere to pitch your tent that is neither covered in horse dung, nor at risk of being flattened at night.

Something needs to be done, as otherwise this gem of Northern Kosciuszko will be forever tarnished, and a part of what makes it a unique landscape and ecosystem forever destroyed. But closing the campground, forbidding access, and conducting a token cull that will be no more than a drop in the ocean is not the answer. It'll never be the answer, and I think NPWS knows that. But they're out of options thanks to successive poor legislative decisions by the NSW government. So while I detest that my plans at Cooleman for the October Long Weekend have been thwarted, I guess I'm glad that they're at least doing something to control the feral horses. I just wish it was something that would actually make a difference- I would happily sacrifice my access to the caves and bushwalking for a meaningful and permanent reduction in the feral horse population, and the protection of the natural legacy that makes the area special.
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Re: Horses and heritage

Postby johnrs » Tue 24 Sep, 2019 12:18 pm

Hi Peregrinator
Matt Keen is the NSW member for the environment.
He is informed and sympathetic but not very powerful
Contacts here
https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/membe ... aspx?pk=61

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Re: Horses and heritage

Postby peregrinator » Tue 24 Sep, 2019 7:45 pm

Thanks for the replies. Zapruda, it’s good to know you’ve been seriously documenting this “utterly deplorable” situation, as you so accurately put it. I think there may be two ways to proceed with expressing our ideas about that situation. Perhaps adopting both approaches has some merit.

First off, I was thinking that now is a good time to make a stand, given that some trapping is going to occur. The issue is thus in the minds of those who are responsible for managing this mess. (I mentioned sending a letter to the premier, but as johnrs points out, the environment minister should be addressed as well. Any others? E.g. the parliamentary opposition?) What struck me about a few recent posts here was the way the important evidence was compellingly stated by people who have spent, in total, quite a lot of time studying this evidence. So a short and powerful message could consist of a brief introduction, followed by a cut and paste of these persuasive posts.

(See first draft below. Apologies to those authors who’ve had their posts edited, or others who’ve also written excellent posts on this topic but there is not sufficient space to include here. My aim was to be as succinct as possible.)

But this immediate response could be followed up over time with a regular stream of information about the scene on the ground as reports come in from walkers, cavers, hunters, fishers; i.e. from whomever we could garner fresh data. Added to this would be the historical documentation that Zapruda has done, that LachlanB refers to in vividly explicit terms. and so on. I wouldn’t want to wait too long getting such information compiled, so that’s why I believe something done quickly right now ought to happen.


__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

First draft. As I noted previously, for this to be credible, it needs to be sent by resident or residents of NSW or ACT. I’m a once-a-year visitor from Vic.



We / I write to express our / my disgust at the on-going damage to sections of KNP by feral horses. We are pleased to note that some culling is to commence, but our evidence suggests that the proposed culling needs to be much more expansive in order to effectively stop this destruction of habitat.

You will read in what follows a few reports from bushwalkers and cavers who spend large amounts of time getting intimately acquainted with the area. Not many people know this country as well as they do. As one of them states: ‘I am not saying this as someone that visits the park once or twice a year. I am out there every weekend on foot.’

1.
I agree that the traps will barely make a dent in the population. I see easily 100+ horses a day in that part of the park and struggle to find a place to pitch the tent that isn't covered in horse droppings. Not to mention the horse pads in every direction on the plains. Those tracks look like a professional has made them. A UNESCO Biosphere that has been lost to feral animals. Its utterly deplorable.

2.
I have seen creeks disappear and become mud pits, tussock become packed earth, kangaroos disappearing, huts being "patrolled" by horses etc. The change is happening fast. 10 years ago there wasn't much to be alarmed about but the change to the landscape over the past 5 years has been swift and incredibly visible. I am not saying this as someone that visits the park once or twice a year. I am out there every weekend on foot.

3.
It's the sort of place you could spend decades exploring and still be finding new things to love. But it's also a fragile landscape, with little details that can be lost only too easily. And everywhere those details are being obliterated by the destructive presence of the horses in the plains. A-tents bulldozed by horse hooves, waterholes sullied, creeks turned in muddy wallows, cave streams no longer fit to drink, a labyrinth of tracks forced through the vegetation (each one eroding and pouring silt into the waterways), food sources for native animals obliterated by the insatiable hunger of a legion of starving feral horses.

4.
Considering that on their own website NPWS state that it is going to be non lethal trapping, and that only a small number of horses are likely to be removed, I think this is a total over reaction. Yes, the horses are terrible at Cooleman at the moment - of about 20 dying campfires at Easter, most at night had multiple horses clustering around them. Bushwalking was more like wading through mounds of horse poo. Yes, something needs to be done about them, but NPWS' response isn't going to help much I think, and now we're seeing some more of the awful outcomes of the NSW Deputy Premier's pathetic excuse for public policy.

5.
Feral horses create problems for the quality, quantity and timing of water supplies, with economic impacts distant at time and space. Remedial works will cost much more than any gain from horse tours or the like. The science is there - feral horses are bad.

6.
I have no sentimentality when it comes to these feral animals, despite being a (reformed! lol) horse-mad person. The damage my own beasts did in our own home paddocks was hard enough for us to bear, they have no place in sensitive wilderness areas.
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Re: Horses and heritage

Postby johnrs » Tue 24 Sep, 2019 11:29 pm

More here Peregrinator
https://reclaimkosci.org.au/
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Re: Horses and heritage

Postby Xplora » Wed 25 Sep, 2019 6:46 am

johnrs wrote:Hi Xplora
The scientific representatives on previous committees will not rejoin the process.
its been farcical and their advice has been treated with contempt by John Barrilarro
who has used the issue to develop his standing with his local national party constituents.


My conversations with Don Driscoll ran along the same lines. I suspect that even if these learned people had wanted to be involved, they would not have been chosen.

peregrinator wrote:The last few posts make some very convincing statements. I wonder whether it's worth sending them to the premier's office. These "boots on the ground" reports (about what's on the ground!) make a potent case. Would one of the authors of recent posts (Zapruda, LachlanB, johnrs, Xplora) consider it a useful thing to copy those statements and forward them to the premier? I was thinking I might do that myself, but as I'm not a resident of ACT or NSW, that might not be received so well.

Sorry for the delayed response. I have been up on Bogong for a few days. I live in Vic right next to the Bogong High Plains. Fortunately there are only 100 or so horses up there but the numbers are increasing. I can applaud your zeal and possibly if enough regular people wrote letters, we would see some change from the government. Sadly I feel more like it will be ignored, just as all the other action groups have been ignored in favour of the minority. Don't let me dissuade you from making the effort though. Barrilarro should be held to account for his pre-election promise of an immediate and significant reduction. This entire government should be held to account and it will some day. The entire heritage horse legislation stinks of a back room deal and the Nationals would not have got it through without holding some sort of ace up its sleeve. How long until the next election?
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Re: Horses and heritage

Postby Zapruda » Wed 25 Sep, 2019 7:07 am

Great job Peregrinator. Much more focused and than anything I could have put together. I would be happy to send it on the Matt Kean, Penny Sharpe, Barilaro etc.

Maybe others can offer more insights to add to it? Things they have seen in the park?

As Xplora mentions it may just fall on deaf ears but anything is worth a shot.

The general fence sitting public are the ones who really need to see how bad it is up there. Power in numbers and all.
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Re: Horses and heritage

Postby johnrs » Wed 25 Sep, 2019 9:22 am

And a Sydney event here
John

Kosciuszko – National Park or Paddock?
Politics at Lunch. Monday 28 October 12.15 -1.15 pm
Why is NSW’s ‘Brumbies Bill’ so controversial? Why do conservationists oppose ‘heritage horses’ in national parks? Is Kosciuszko a national park or is it being turned into a horse paddock? What are the myths and facts behind feral horses in Kosciuszko National Park? How do feral horses threaten the fragile ecosystem of the Kosciuszko National Park, a world biosphere reserve that is home to rare and threatened habitats and wildlife that include the Mountain pygmy possum, the Corroboree frog and the Monaro golden daisy?

These Workers’ Educational Association (WEA) courses are held in association with National Parks Association of NSW, WEA House, 72 Bathurst Street, Sydney, NSW, a short walk from Town Hall railway station. Tutor: Janine Kitson. Bookings essential. Contact WEA, Sydney Ph: (02) 9264 2781 E:info@weasydney.nsw.edu.au www.weasydney.com.au
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Re: Horses and heritage

Postby Zapruda » Wed 25 Sep, 2019 9:43 am

John, these events sound great but aren't they just an echo chamber of the same opinions? These seem designed to only educate people who are on our side anyway.

Id love to see a public debate between the pro horse crowd and the anti horse crowd. This way the public could truly see the idiocy of what's going on and the people advocating it.
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Re: Horses and heritage

Postby johnrs » Wed 25 Sep, 2019 11:08 am

Hi Zapruda
I agree with your sentiments but see the events as part of a publicity or campaign processs,
and think persistent activism is needed here,
if you live in NSW please send a note to your local state member.
Have a look at the Reclaim Kosci site for more ideas
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Re: Horses and heritage

Postby Warin » Mon 16 Dec, 2019 9:03 am

Reported brumby numbers now over 15,000

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-12-16/ ... s/11801386
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Re: Horses and heritage

Postby Xplora » Tue 17 Dec, 2019 4:57 am

Over 25000 in all the Alpine areas. About 100 on BHP which is would be easy enough to to make zero. The Federal Court has not returned its verdict on the injunction for Bogong HP. Taking a while. People will have to come to the conclusion that there is no way passive methods can reduce numbers of this magnitude but even it possible, re-homing these significant numbers would also be difficult. Once trapped they can't be released back to the wild so then what?

Now we have a Victoria Politician (Andy Meddick - Animal Justice League) trying to get the government to use fertility control. Read this and you will understand how useless it would be http://wildhorses.org/pzp/?fbclid=IwAR1 ... eNnH-Z9v3k

Two doses every year before breeding time (weeks) and can only be darted up to 50m away. Good luck with that. If fertility control were possible then it would address the massive population increases but you still have a large animal, that can live 20 years (average) roaming around causing damage. Strangely enough the Australian Brumby Alliance have locked onto him but they would understand this is a totally ineffective way to control populations. If it were effective then these bleeding hearts would not support it as the populations would eventually die out.
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Re: Horses and heritage

Postby Zapruda » Tue 17 Dec, 2019 5:16 am

This was sad news yesterday but I wasn’t surprised. After spending quite a bit of time this winter in the northern frost plains of KNP, I was shocked to see a concentration of horses beyond anything I have witnessed in my years in the park.

Unfortunately the pro feral horse crowd are now using the current fires in NSW as reason to keep the horses in the park... They believe that the feral horses are controlling the fuel loads by grazing on the grass. I find this grasping at straws attitude beyond frustrating. I am yet to see a horse eating one of the millions of fallen over and dead Snowgums or Mountain Ash trees that have potential to really make the alps go up.
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Re: Horses and heritage

Postby Lophophaps » Tue 17 Dec, 2019 8:24 am

Andy Meddick of the Animal Justice League and the Australian Brumby Alliance should be asked how they will get within 50 metres of the horses to shoot horses twice in two weeks. Also, it's likely that the darts are sharp, a hazard for people, animals, and birds. The political will is not there to do anything meaningful. Maybe start a campaign on Facebook or similar saying to say to stay away from KNP and the ANP as horses greatly detract.

Some time ago the pro-cattle lobby said that cattle in the alps reduced the risk of bushfires by eating, cannot recall the details. The problem was that the science said the opposite. The people that say that feral horses reduce the fuel load should be asked to show the peer-reviewed science that supports this.
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Re: Horses and heritage

Postby DavidB » Tue 17 Dec, 2019 10:01 am

The full report on the 2019 survey can be found here
https://theaustralianalps.wordpress.com ... -released/

As someone said earlier its sad news but not surprising given the NSW Government's stance on this.
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Re: Horses and heritage

Postby Xplora » Wed 18 Dec, 2019 5:20 am

Lophophaps wrote:Some time ago the pro-cattle lobby said that cattle in the alps reduced the risk of bushfires by eating, cannot recall the details. The problem was that the science said the opposite. The people that say that feral horses reduce the fuel load should be asked to show the peer-reviewed science that supports this.


Alpine grazing reduces blazing? In 1939 cattle were a plenty on the high plains and the fire ripped through from the mountains to the sea in a day. 2003 cattle were still grazing the southern side of BHP. Fires also burnt through. The pro horse and cattle people also seem to be anti fire. Fire is important to the eco system. We need fires from time to time. People build among the trees and then want all the fires put out. A separate issue entirely but the landscape is changing. The Victoria way of fire control is to bring in large machinery and push tracks everywhere around fires and drop chemical (phosphorus) into the bush. Quite destructive. I get the saving lives and assets bit but these tracks are useless unless back burned as the fire will just jump them. Those in charge of fire control are scared now to let a fire burn in case it causes damage or kills someone. In Victoria also they won't back burn at night when conditions are perfect. The fire fighters go back to their lodgings for dinner and drinks at night.

Very little respect in our community for the fire crews. In 2003, they were all here being looked after and doing nothing for weeks until the fire actually got here, then they left. Things may have changed now but attitudes are harder to change for people.
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Re: Horses and heritage

Postby peregrinator » Wed 18 Dec, 2019 1:04 pm

Xplora wrote:
. . . The pro horse and cattle people . . .


Or are they the pro horse-and-cart people?

Not that I'm particularly pro private combustion-engine vehicle. It's just that walking from Melbourne to get to the BHP is a bit boring.
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Re: Horses and heritage

Postby Lophophaps » Wed 18 Dec, 2019 1:55 pm

https://www.theage.com.au/national/fera ... 53khb.html
If it starts to affect farmers and marginal electorates then there may be some hope to have ferals culled. Horses, that is.
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Re: Horses and heritage

Postby Uncle Rumple » Thu 20 Feb, 2020 8:21 pm

See this story from today’s media. I was hoping that the silver lining from the recent bushfire cloud might be the excuse/justification to rid the alpine areas of all the horses, not just some of them:

https://www.theguardian.com/environment ... -bushfires
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Re: Horses and heritage

Postby Zapruda » Thu 20 Feb, 2020 8:25 pm

Up to*

I’m guessing this could mean 4000 or 1.

I’m glad to see specific areas mentioned. Nungar, Cooleman and Boggy Plain are absolutely infested with them.

The emotional response to these ferals is alarming. Hopefully it truly is 4000 and it happens quickly.
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Re: Horses and heritage

Postby crollsurf » Thu 20 Feb, 2020 10:04 pm

Nungar is suffering but the Cooleman Plains are at a point... It will take many decades to recover, maybe even centuries.

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Re: Horses and heritage

Postby Xplora » Fri 21 Feb, 2020 5:03 am

There is no quick way to trap 4000 horses. Lethal methods are not ruled out. Trapping would take years to remove that number.
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Re: Horses and heritage

Postby CraigVIC » Mon 24 Feb, 2020 5:34 pm

https://engage.vic.gov.au/download_file/25124/2271

This is the summary of public responses to the Barmah strategic action plan. Predictably, mostly strongly for or against horse control.
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Re: Horses and heritage

Postby crollsurf » Tue 25 Feb, 2020 6:19 pm

Back in the day, the Cattlemen used Lickpoles to bring in the cattle.

Could something like that be used? Horses are more flighty than cattle but some salt mixed with an infertility drug could work as a longer term solution for both Horses and Deer.

Just need some sort of shroud to stop the Roos getting to it.

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Re: Horses and heritage

Postby Mark F » Fri 08 May, 2020 5:55 pm

"Perfection is attained not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing more to remove".
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Re: Horses and heritage

Postby Heremeahappy1 » Sat 09 May, 2020 12:00 am

+1 good news. Culling should be but one element of the management strategy. Reducing numbers in the short term while longer term solutions are implemented. What are they? Not sure. I characterise agents as as mechanical, biological, chemical etc could lead down many paths. I feel these activities are not the only challenge, the public's perceptions also require alignment with the goal to enable acceptance to achieve the outcomes which = Education! We still have people who are outraged when hunting occurs in state and Nat Parks without realising multiple user groups access to our resources for all means of recreation.
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Re: Horses and heritage

Postby davidmorr » Sat 09 May, 2020 7:29 am

Heremeahappy1 wrote:We still have people who are outraged when hunting occurs in state and Nat Parks without realising multiple user groups access to our resources for all means of recreation.

Except that the legislated purpose of national parks (in NSW at least) is conservation, not recreation.
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Re: Horses and heritage

Postby Warin » Sat 09 May, 2020 9:36 am

davidmorr wrote:
Heremeahappy1 wrote:We still have people who are outraged when hunting occurs in state and Nat Parks without realising multiple user groups access to our resources for all means of recreation.

Except that the legislated purpose of national parks (in NSW at least) is conservation, not recreation.


But not conservation of weeds, feral animals?

Would it not be better to conserve what was here when the white man first arrived? Maintaining the Aborigines maintenance of the bush?
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