Overpopulation of feral horses threatens the species, and more than 5,000 have been slaughtered in Australia Biodiversity

Feral horses have become an environmental problem in Australia’s Kosciuszko National Park. Brooke Mitchell/Getty Images

Home to Australia’s highest peak, Kosciuszko National Park is facing population control issues to ensure the balance of biodiversity, especially with regard to feral horses. The number of these animals has become so high that authorities have begun aerial culling, targeting more than 5,500 horses since October last year.

In the last survey of the total population of these animals, there were about 17 thousand wild horses in the park, when the number considered ideal for ecological balance in the area would be 3,000. The target is to be achieved by 2027According to the National Parks and Wildlife Service.

Deer and wild boars are also killed in the control program. The widespread presence of these large animals threatens to drive species of plants and small amphibians and rodents to extinction.

According to official figures, 8,505 horses have been removed from the park since November 2021, most of them in the last seven months as a result of the aerial shooting programme. Habitat destruction caused by the horses is one of the main threats to the vulnerable species, along with fire and climate change, the paper reported Guardian,

“Feral horses have pushed dozens of threatened species of flora and fauna to the brink as their numbers have spiraled out of control,” says Jackie Mumford, chief executive of the Nature Conservation Council for the New South Wales region where the national park is located.

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Gary Dunnett, regional chief executive of the National Parks Association, highlighted that years of delay and inaction on the problem has meant that “thousands of wild horses have had to be culled as the population has grown out of control”.

According to experts, for the first time the number of horses removed from the park exceeds the annual growth of the population of these animals, a scenario that allows the presence of the species to decline.

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