Sunday, 01 Oct 2023

Feral horses an imminent threat that could cause extinction of several endangered Australian species, inquiry warned

Feral horses an imminent threat that could cause extinction of several endangered Australian species, inquiry warned


Feral horses an imminent threat that could cause extinction of several endangered Australian species, inquiry warned

Feral horses in the Australian alps pose an imminent threat to the Albanese government's zero extinctions target, a scientific committee that advises the government on endangered species has told a parliamentary inquiry.

The threatened species scientific committee (TSSC) says feral horses "may be the crucial factor that causes final extinction" of six critically endangered animals and at least two critically endangered plants.

The warning is contained in a submission to a Senate inquiry examining the damage feral horses are causing to sensitive alpine ecosystems.

"Feral horses in the alps therefore pose an imminent threat to the threatened species action plan's objective to prevent new extinctions of plants and animals," a single sentence written in bold states.

The Albanese government announced a target last year of zero new extinctions as part of a revamped threatened species strategy to address the decline of Australia's environment.

Feral horses are a major threat in the alpine wilderness of New South Wales, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory, including in the Kosciuszko national park.

They threaten native plants and animals by grazing, trampling vegetation and habitat, and damaging waterways.

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