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The 2019 Kosciuszko Brumby Count

It is disappointing that the Australian Alps National Parks have just released another flawed count of Brumbies in Kosciuszko National Park.

While there is no doubt the number of Brumbies in the park has increased slightly over the past four years, it is biologically impossible for their population to have increased to the size suggested within this document.

In fact the figures in this report suggest that if 50% of the Brumbies in Northern Kosciuszko are female, every one of them will have foaled every single year between 2014 to 2019. In light of the recent drought, fires, and current trapping methods, this is extremely unlikely.

Other concerns with the methodology used in this report include:

  • The report includes no comparison of environmental conditions of when the survey data was taken in 2014 compared to 2019, including changes in terrain, effects of drought and fires, human impact and development.
  • The report acknowledges that transects being surveyed are in areas where horses are known to be abundant. This data is then extrapolated to cover areas in which horse numbers are known to be much lower, suggesting false increases in horse population numbers.
  • The reports acknowledges one 2014 survey area has been removed because there were too few horses found, suggesting that the report’s aim is to work toward finding more horses in the region rather than to undertake an accurate study.
  • When undertaking analysis, separate models were used for the 2014 and 2019 data sets (hazard-rate for 2014, half-normal for 2019), as well as different covariates (cover+cloud for 2014, cover+observer for 2019), leading to incomparable data.
  • Finally, the report finds a substantial population range within its 95% confidence interval (between 17,382 to 35,397 horses), suggesting that a new method of capturing accurate data may be required to undertake horse population counts.

Given these concerns, it is alarming that those who want Kosciuszko’s Brumbies to face slaughter are using this report to try an push for another bloodbath by repealing the Kosciuszko Wild Horse Heritage Act.

Help us take action and email NSW Upper House MPs to demand they take action to protect Kosciuszko’s Brumbies from slaughter: