Managing Feral Horses in Namadgi National Park, Australia: A Sensitive Operation

Managing populations of feral horses is a highly contentious issue, not the least because of the high regard in which horses are held by the community. Past attempts to manage them in Australia and internationally, especially where it has involved aerial culling and little effective consultation with key stakeholders, have drawn considerable criticism from a wide diversity of groups and individuals. Consequently, managers often find it difficult to effectively manage the damage due to feral horses.

Here, we report on a program that has been successful in removing feral horses that enter Namadgi National Park in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) from the adjoining Kosciuszko National Park. The program was developed in close consultation with key stakeholders including the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, adjoining landholders, and the ACT Animal Welfare Advisory Committee. A management plan was developed and endorsed by the relevant Government Minister.

The approach taken was to entice animals into yards where they were trapped and euthanised. The plan contains a communication strategy that includes key messages and frequently asked questions. Key elements of the success of the program have been open consultation with key stakeholders; developing trust and maintaining lines of communication; and strict adherence to nationally endorsed animal welfare codes of practice and standard operating procedures for managing pests.

Secondary title 26th Vertebrate Pest Conference
Author Mike Braysher and Odile Arman
Date 03/03/2014
Year 2014
Place published Waikoloa, Hawaii, USA
Control method Trapping
Documents Download paper:    Managing Feral Horses in Namadgi National Park, Australia: A Sensitive Operation [ 500kb PDF ]