Brumbies numbers to shrink in Snowy Mts

A NSW government plan would see the brumby population in Kosciuszko National Park shrink to 3000.
A NSW government plan would see the brumby population in Kosciuszko National Park shrink to 3000.

The population of brumbies in Kosciuszko National Park will be whittled down to 3000 from more than 14,000 by mid-2027 under a final plan to deal with the heated issue.

NSW Environment Minister Matt Kean says the final management plan, released on Wednesday, strikes the right balance between protecting the horses' heritage value and maintaining the park's conservation values.

The plan will see the park divvied up into three areas.

Nearly one-third of the area - 32 per cent - will still be home to wild horses.

The government says those are the areas with the strongest links to the heritage values the brumbies represent, with connections to historical pastoralism and brumby running.

A 21 per cent slice of the park will see all wild horses removed.

The remaining 47 per cent is currently brumby-free and will remain that way.

The reduction in the number of wild horses roaming through the park is meant to protect threatened species, like the northern and southern corroboree frogs, and ecosystems.

Passive trapping and re-homing will be used to shrink the population, with the government pledging to adhere to best practice animal welfare requirements.

The aim of 3000 is set for 30 June 2027.

Mr Kean said the plan is based on consultation with scientific and community representatives, Aboriginal stakeholders, and more than 4000 public submissions.

Monaro MP and former deputy premier John Barilaro, who delivered his valedictory address to parliament on Wednesday, said the plan was the culmination of years of work from passionate people.

"I am so proud that we have been able to deliver certainty within my local electorate on this important issue," he said.

"This final plan gives the everybody certainty by delivering a way to manage a sustainable population of wild horses in only very select areas of the park.

"But more importantly it recognises their important heritage value for future generations."

The Nature Conservation Council welcomed the plan, with Chief Executive Chris Gambian saying wild horses had been doing "untold damage to iconic landscapes for decades".

Mr Gambian said leaving 3000 horses was still a massive risk to endangered species, but any action was better than the "gross inaction" that had come before.

Australian Associated Press