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From the helicopter: Australia wants to cull 16,000 wild horses

From the helicopter: Australia wants to cull 16,000 wild horses

The animals will now be shot down again from helicopters, it was said on Friday. New South Wales (NSW) Environment Minister Penny Sharp said the herd in Kosciuszko National Park would be reduced from the current number of 19,000 to 3,000 animals by 2027.

Sharpe defended the controversial move, saying other methods or efforts to reduce stocks have not yet had sufficient effect. To this end, the “wild horse management” program in the national park from 2021 has been expanded to include permission for aerial shooting, TV station NSW News reported on Friday (local time).

“Take Action”

The decision was not taken lightly, Sharpe cited. “No one likes to kill wild horses.” But the high number of worms “threatens native species and the entire ecosystem,” the minister said. “We need to take action.”

Imago/Nature Picture Library/Steven David Miller

It is estimated that around 400,000 non-native wild horses live across Australia.

Kosciuszko National Park is one of Australia’s largest nature reserves. It covers an area of ​​nearly 6,435 square kilometers. It is located in the Snowy Mountains, named after Mount Kosciuszko. In 2000, helicopters were used there to hunt non-native animals. Over 600 animals were killed in three days. After violent protests, the operation was called off and aerial shooting was banned.

Typical variations on firing

Since then, there have been on-and-off discussions about filming plans over the years; In 2016, 600 animals were said to be culled from the national park because they were destroying the alpine (Australian Alps) landscape. After two years, the plan to kill them was abandoned; At that time, about 6,000 animals lived in the national park. Instead, plans to relocate the Brumbies were on the table.

Park rangers continue to try to control the number of horses with the help of traps, translocations and “classic” hunting – but with little success, as Sharp emphasized: in the last two years alone, their number has increased by a third. .

No origin

Brumbies were originally domesticated horses imported from Europe during the colonization of Australia in the 18th century, but later set free by settlers when they were no longer needed – or simply ran away. Because the animals were not originally native to the fifth continent, they are an invasive species, just like other animal species, insects and plants.

Wild horses are now part of Australia’s history and one of the country’s symbols, according to those opposed to the shooting. Proponents of shooting see the animals as a nuisance because they reproduce too quickly, damage the ecosystem and destroy the habitat of rare native animals. According to the Invasive Species Council, an environmental movement, there are now 400,000 brumbies living across Australia. Considering the new plans, the Save the Brumbies initiative speaks of “terrorism” and “cruelty” against animals and calls for “humane management” of wild horse populations.