Feral horse threat to ACT’s water sees Namadgi’s wetlands on endangered list

Ian Bushnell 7 February 2019 10

A bog in Namadgi National Park, which feeds the Lower Cotter Catchment, the ACT’s main source of drinking water. Photos: Supplied.

The increased risks of feral horses crossing into the ACT from NSW where they are now protected, has prompted the ACT to list unique wetlands in Namadgi National Park as ‘endangered’ to help better protect native habitats and wildlife, and the quality of the Territory’s drinking water.

Environment and Heritage Minister Mick Gentleman has added ‘High Country Bogs and Associated Fens’ to the ACT Threatened Ecological Communities List based on advice from the ACT Scientific Committee.

The NSW Government’s decision last year to stop culling feral horses in the Kosciuszko National Park, driven by Deputy Premier and Monaro MP John Barilaro who contends they have cultural significance, has been universally condemned by scientists and the ACT has said any that cross into the ACT will be killed.

Mr Gentleman said the ACT would now develop an action plan to engage with the NSW Government on cross-border management of Australia’s high country, including discussing the risks posed by feral horses entering Namadgi National Park.

Wild horses

Feral horses remain a threat to the unique Namadgi wetlands.

He said the wetlands played a significant and important role in filtering water that flows into the Lower Cotter Catchment area, which is the ACT’s main source of drinking water.

Namadgi’s bogs and fens were also home to the critically endangered Northern Corroboree Frogs, as well as native Broad-toothed Rats, Alpine Tree Frogs, Reik’s Crayfish and Alpine Spiny Crayfish.

“These ecosystems are fragile and susceptible to increased temperatures and altered rainfall patterns caused by climate change,” the Minister said.

“Hooved animals such as feral horses, deer and pigs can destroy critical habitat and degrade the water quality by trampling or wallowing.”

High country bogs and fens are unique ecosystems that occur along high country streams, drainage lines, valley edges and valley floors more than 720 metres above sea level in the ACT. They are permanently waterlogged and typically have no trees due to strong, cold winds that sweep the area.


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10 Responses to Feral horse threat to ACT’s water sees Namadgi’s wetlands on endangered list
Neenie Baines Neenie Baines 8:11 am 10 Feb 19

Bloody NSW. Cowards.

Craig Elliott Craig Elliott 8:01 pm 09 Feb 19

What a crock.....please we send thousands of CO2 polluting cars into the area every year.....no threat there....no road kill. People love to focus on low hanging fruit....things like climate change are put in the too hard bin....Canberra is lossing trees each year hand over fist...yet we are worried a few horses

Paul Rutherford Paul Rutherford 6:27 pm 09 Feb 19

Horses are beautiful animals. But all hooved animals are bad pests in our high country - the most practical solution is to have trained shooters to dispatch them humanely. Horse meat makes good steak so maybe there’s a way of rounding them up like is done with other feral pests like goats. Perhaps it could help offset the cost of eradicating these ferals?

David Melville Rowlands David Melville Rowlands 6:18 pm 09 Feb 19

The feral beasts ought to eradicated or removed permanently by someone who cares for them.

Catherine Ford Catherine Ford 3:48 pm 09 Feb 19

What a crock...

    Christian Tagtachian Christian Tagtachian 6:37 pm 10 Feb 19


Sarelle Woodward Sarelle Woodward 2:54 pm 09 Feb 19

Shoot them as they cross the border

John Thistleton John Thistleton 1:30 pm 09 Feb 19

The bush is no place for feral horses. The animals have a hard enough time in drought and heavy snow in winter. Allowing their numbers to grow in national parks is inhumane on them and irresponsible near water catchments and native flora and fauna.

Jude May Jude May 1:15 pm 09 Feb 19

Time to grow up, get rid of the notion that horses belong in the high country, and cull the bloody animals.

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