The management of brumbies (wild horses) in Australia’s Kosciuszko National Park has long been a topic of intense debate and discussion. Recently, the NSW government’s decision to introduce aerial shooting as a method of controlling brumby populations has brought this issue back into the limelight. As reported by the ABC, recent questioning of Steve Whan, Monaro MP, by hard-working One Nation MLC Tania Mihailuk uncovered the broader implications for brumby management in the park.
The Decision for Aerial Shooting:
The NSW government, under the guidance of Environment Minister Penny Sharpe, has decided to adopt aerial shooting as an additional control method to significantly reduce the number of wild horses in Kosciuszko National Park. Labor’s decision aims to bring the brumby population down from almost 19,000 to 3,000 by the year 2027. It is claimed this will protect the ‘fragile alpine ecosystem’ and the native flora and fauna that inhabit it.
Despite the government's clear stance, concerns have been raised about the aftermath of aerial shooting, particularly in relation to the management of brumby carcasses. Tania Mihailuk, MLC, during a budget estimates hearing, questioned Steve Whan, Member for Monaro, about how these carcasses would be dealt with, highlighting worries about children encountering dead horses in the park. Whan responded by stating that certain sections of the park would be closed during aerial shooting operations, and that the scientific advice suggests carcasses should be left to decompose naturally, contributing to the ‘biodiversity’ of the area. Charming.
Managing Carcasses and Public Backlash:
Whan acknowledged that the decomposition of horse carcasses would not be visually appealing and anticipated a potential backlash. However, he emphasised Labor’s determination of the operation, claiming that failure to control brumby populations could result in significant damage to the national park’s values. He also assured that guidelines would be in place to move carcasses away from walking tracks, campgrounds, and rivers, aligning with scientific advice.
We’re sure this won’t happen. But let’s see.
The introduction of aerial shooting as a brumby control method in Kosciuszko National Park is a contentious decision. One Nation’s hard-working local NSW MP, Tania Mihailuk, will continue her questioning of the government and the practical implications of this dangerous and unsightly practise.