Australian ecology experts moot culling of wild horses

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Melbourne, Sep 1 (IANS) A group of ecology experts has called for culling over 5,000 wild horses in Australia’s Victoria state to prevent environment damage.

In a letter to Victoria’s Premier Daniel Andrews and Environment Minister Liliana D’Ambrosio, the group of 41 academics, led by Deakin University’s Don Driscoll, said that the wild brumbies — free-roaming feral horses — should be killed, as their numbers are growing 21 per cent every year, Xinhua news agency reported.

“Victoria, to my knowledge, is not doing anything to deal with the problem,” Driscoll said on Thursday.

The academic group said that because of higher reproduction rates, Victoria needed a more aggressive cull than New South Wales (NSW) where it was announced in April that the brumby numbers would be reduced from 6,000 to 3,000 in the next 10 years and down to 600 in 20 years.

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Driscoll said the brumbies in the Alpine and Bogong High Plains was threatening a number of species such as the Alpine water skink, she-oak skink and broad-toothed rodent, as well as varied vegetation.

He said the Victorian government had a legal obligation to protect national parks that make up 17 per cent of Victoria.

The letter also suggested that aerial culling, with a marksman and a helicopter, would be the most humane method to cull the horses rather than ground shooting, trapping and sterilisation programs used in NSW.



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