Dry conditions affecting animals in Barmah National Park
Wednesday 14 November, 2018
Extremely dry conditions and low rainfall are impacting native and introduced animals and plants across private and public lands throughout northern Victoria and New South Wales.
During natural environmental cycles, animals migrate in search of food and unsustainable populations decline. This cycle alleviates permanent damage to vegetation during hard times.
In Barmah National Park, Parks Victoria has been monitoring and responding to incidences of malnourished feral horses and receiving advice and assistance from RSPCA Victoria regarding the welfare of the animals.
A panel of local veterinarians has been retained to assist in the response to reports of malnourished feral horses. In some instances, to prevent further suffering, feral horses have been euthanased. This has been undertaken in a controlled manner and under strict protocols, following consultation with a veterinarian.
National park regulations also prevent the feeding of, or interference with, animals (whether wildlife or introduced species) in national parks. Feeding animals can maintain populations at unsustainable levels, adding pressure to the environment, and can create a dependence on non-natural foods. If familiarised with people, animals can stop foraging on their own and become dependent on human intervention. Regular feeding of animals can attract predators, while domestic animal feed can introduce invasive weeds to a national park.
With summer approaching, on-ground conditions in many of the state’s national parks and reserves are expected to deteriorate. In Barmah National Park, Parks Victoria has increased patrols and will continue to monitor the health of feral horses and native animals, and respond to reports of malnourished animals.
During the last week of November, Parks Victoria will conduct an aerial reconnaissance flight over the national park to further monitor feral horse locations and monitor their condition.
Members of the public can report incidences of distressed animals to Parks Victoria on: 13 1963.