Seeking feedback on draft feral horse action plan for Victorian Alps

Friday 26 March, 2021

Parks Victoria’s plan to protect the Alpine National Park 

26 March 2021: Parks Victoria has today released a draft of the next action plan to address feral horse impacts and better protect the Alpine National Park, open for public comment until Friday 23 April.
The draft Feral Horse Action Plan 2021 sets out the proposed approach to improve the management of feral horses and reduce the damage they cause to vulnerable natural and cultural values of the Victorian Alps.
It is a revision of the 2018-21 Feral Horse Strategic Action Plan, driven by continued feral horse impacts on native alpine wildlife and habitats, extensive habitat loss from the Black Summer bushfires, and the limited progress to-date of the current management methods.
The draft Feral Horse Action Plan 2021 is available to review and provide feedback at Engage Victoria,
Many aspects of the management approach remain the same since the previous plan - the need to control feral horses in the national park, major impacts on the natural environment, the legislative and moral obligations to undertake this work, and the availability of a range of control methods that can be used.
The draft plan outlines the preferred methods of managing feral horses, including trapping and rehoming, tightly managed shooting, and construction of exclusion fences.
A key component of the new plan is to find ways to maximise rehoming opportunities for captured horses. To date, there has been limited response to repeated and direct public calls for interest in this program. 
Between December 2019 and September 2020, there were three rounds of public advertisement seeking expressions of interest (EOIs) to rehome feral horses. Parks Victoria received more than 300 enquiries, ten completed EOIs from suitable applicants, and offers to rehome between 38 and 51 feral horses per year. With an estimated 5,000 feral horses in the Victorian Alps, this demonstrates that capture and rehoming alone will not be enough to significantly reduce feral horse populations in the eastern Alps.
Through consultation on the draft plan, Parks Victoria is seeking the community’s assistance in broadening and improving the feral horse rehoming approach.
The draft Feral Horse Action Plan 2021 has been developed based on the scientific evidence, management experience and expert input from the previous 2018-2021 Feral Horse Strategic Action Plan, which received more than 1,000 submissions through extensive public consultation in 2017.
All submissions to the draft plan will be considered as part of developing the final Feral Horse Action Plan 2021, which will be submitted to the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change for review.
Quotes attributable to Parks Victoria spokesperson:
“The high numbers of feral horses in the Alpine area continue to cause damage to the unique Australian alps. Increased knowledge and experience are allowing us to build the best approach to managing feral horse populations and reduce the threats they bring to our special high country native wildlife and habitats. 
As a result, we have revised our management practices, bringing in additional methods to help reduce feral horse numbers while aiming to maximise the numbers captured and rehomed.
We are releasing the draft plan to provide people with the opportunity to review our updated approach and give us honest and constructive feedback.”

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