Welcome to Habitat For Horses!|Sunday, October 26, 2014

A time to cull? The battle over Australia’s brumbies 

Brumbies wild horses of Australia

Australia’s wild horses are known as brumbies. There has been much “to do” about their population and the native flora and fauna in the region. Culling – true culling, meaning to remove for slaughter, is never the answer. ~ HfH

From: The Guardian

Brumbies wild horses of Australia

A herd of wild brumbies on the plains above Kiandra in the Kosciuszko national park. Photograph: Mike Bowers for the Guardian

It’s been a hard winter for Australia’s wild horses. But things may be about to get much worse for these totemic animals. Their swelling numbers are damaging the continent’s precious alpine ranges, and tensions are mounting over what needs to happen next.

The last mare in Dead Horse Gap lies dying on a pure-white bed of snow. Her ears twitch as we approach, but she’s too weak to lift her head. Her rib bones are a scaffold now for her chocolate brown coat.

About her, her fellow mob lie in various stages of decay, food for fat, shiny foxes. Crows line the pretty snow gums above.

This mare, like her mates, has starved here in Australia’s alpine winter landscape for the unhappy chance of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. She was caught in a mountain pass when the late snow arrived, and nothing can save her now. And by her eye, she knows it.

This scene is, as the poet Tennyson put it, “nature, red in tooth and claw”. In another life, a mare like her could have been petted and cosseted and dressed in a pink rug by a teenage girl who would have whispered love-torn secrets into that twitching ear. In this story, the foxes will have it.

It’s a bad year for Australia’s wild horses caught in the upper reaches of the Australian Alps. This mountain pass between New South Wales and Victoria is not called Dead Horse Gap for nothing.

But it could get worse for the wild horses as national parks in Victoria and NSW decide how to manage brumby numbers, which they describe as out of control.

Both states are considering “wild horse management plans” for the next five years. Both will address how to cull brumbies with all methods on the table, in an effort to protect Australian habitats and species

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