“THE science is clear. Feral horses, along with other European introduced pests such as pigs and deer, are a major threat to the unique environment of the Australian Alps, says ACT Parks and Conservation Services director
He was echoing concerns from scientists that heavy-hoofed feral animals are having an effect on the ecosystem of the Australian Alps national parks, which include threatened plants and animals in the ACT.
“The ACT is part of a cross border program protecting the Australian high country, which includes our own Cotter Catchment within Namadgi National Park,” says Iglesias.
“The catchment is a main source of drinking water in the ACT, and as such we rely on the integrity and protection of Namadgi National Park.
“Nationally, snowmelt and rainfall flowing from the Australian Alps contributes more than 30 per cent of inflows into the Murray-Darling system and even more in dry years, despite covering just 0.2 per cent of the continent.
“Heavy-hoofed animals damage waterways, cause erosion and trample habitat. They threaten the water quality in the Murray-Darling Basin.
“The northern corroboree frog, which live in the moist alpine bogs of the ACT high country, is just one of the critically endangered animals whose habitat is damaged by hard-hoofed animals including horses.
“These feral animals do not recognise state boundaries, but it’s important to know we have been effective in excluding horses from moving from Kosciuszko into the ACT’s high country to date.
“We will have a strong interest in whatever control programs NSW adopt, as they have to be effective enough to ensure ACT’s water catchment is not impacted by horses crossing the border.
“In the ACT, we are focused on ensuring our sensitive and critical water catchment is protected from the harmful impact of feral animals, including horses.”