Barmah Forest Brumbies – URGENT call to submit your views

Urgent – Barmah Forest Survey

Your Support is needed to help Brumbies in Barmah State Forest (Vic)

Please submit your response to Parks Victoria by 16 February 2014

Parks Victoria has recently decided to remove all Brumbies in Barmah Forest (Victoria), effectively ignoring the Key Stake holders who have met with Parks Victoria for over a year to recommend the best way to manage around 150 Brumbies living in the Barmah Forest. Following Parks Victoria decision to remove the Brumbies, Parks Victoria is undertaking a study to assess social & heritage values of wild horse population in Barmah National Park.

PLEASE Return Completed SURVEY (attached) and any ADDITIONAL Information to:Parks Victoria, PO Box 1363, Shepparton, VIC 3632 by 16-feb-2014

There is a link to complete the survey on line, however I am concerned the survey disappears once the ‘submit’ button is clicked, without any confirmation the survey has been submitted. Therefore it may be best to print the survey and post to ParksVic at the above address, or scan the completed pages and email to barmahhorses@parks.vic.gov.au

For Information – The following message was put together by Paul Tolcher from ATHRA and if you love brumbies I’m sure you will be interested in what it has to say…

Jill Pickering, President, ABA

To download the SURVEY FORM, click link below

Barmah Nat.Park Wild Horse Social & Heritage Values Survey (due by 16-Feb-2014)

The Online Survey link is:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/Barmah_National_Park_Wild_Horse_Social_And_Heritage_Values_Survey


Once again there is an opportunity to have your say about a subject very dear to many of our hearts: Brumbies…… in this case the Barmah Forest Brumbies.

Parks Victoria, which is the government department charged with the responsibility of managing Victoria’s national Parks, has announced the launch of a community consultation program starting with a perceptions survey to gauge opinion about the proposal to remove the Barmah Brumbies from the Barmah Forest.

Background

This is an initiative that has already had a few false starts over the last few years since the National Park was established.  But due to the diligence of a few community organisations opposed to the eradication of the Barmah Brumbies, they still remain in the park at present….but for how long?

Once again, as with the Alpine Brumbies, the premise of the Parks Victoria case is that the Barmah Brumbies are causing significant environmental impact in the Barmah Forest.  And it seems Parks Victoria are hoping most people will accept this claim on face value despite the fact that there is very little science to back up or quantify their claims.  So again the reasoning does seem to be more strongly influenced by a philosophical view point that non-indigenous species such as brumbies are harmful to the environment and should therefore be removed.

It’s also interesting that impact from brumbies is again being singled out, seemingly regarded as more of a threat than other pest animal species such as foxes, feral cats or wild dogs ……or again is it just that brumby eradication is more achievable, (perhaps the low hanging fruit that will please the influential green lobby such as the National Parks Association).  Wouldn’t it be interesting if Brumbies were actually helping to keep some other pests species under control. But who would know without a pragmatic approach to good research.

The Brumbies have existed in the Barmah forest for about 150 years, yet their numbers remain low at only 150 horses.  The Brumbies have access to about 75,000ha which is both national park and state forest.  It is the largest Red Gum forest in the world and is a significant wetland home to many species of wildlife. Don’t think this is pristine old growth forest though; it’s been logged and exploited for the entire 150 years and still survives.  The forest has provided much benefit to the local community and the whole of Australia by way of its timber and grazing resources and has surprisingly been quite well managed as a fairly sustainable resource up until now.  In line with its new National Park status, timber harvesting and cattle grazing has now stopped.

There’s no denying the forest is also a very significant part of the Yorta Yorta indigenous community’s cultural heritage which as it happens also includes the Brumbies. One ex-forester I know cheerfully recounts seeing young indigenous men even up until quite recently ride the Brumbies. They’d slowly approach and spring on, hold some mane and ride the Brumbies to the River. Apparently a sight to behold.

Now let’s be realistic. It’s no accident that Parks Victoria now refer to the Brumbies as Wild Horses. Obviously they want to minimise the emotional effect in the debate.  The Parks Victoria’s agenda here is quite openly to eradicate the brumbies from the National Park.  They’re now conducting the community consultation because all other attempts to remove the brumbies have created too much public consternation and have not been well supported by the local community.

It seems though that a little community agitation is a good thing. Parks Victoria have now agreed that lethal means is off the agenda and there is no suggestion that horse riding in the park will be banned any time soon.

Action

So if you are interested in this matter please take the time to type the Barmah Brumbies subject into your search engine and make up your own mind from what’s already in the public domain. Then I’d encourage you to complete the attached survey and send it in. The easiest way it to save the document is as a PDF after you have filled it in. then simply e-mail it to barmahhorses@parks.vic.gov.au.

Many thanks for your attention.

Mitch Kemp

Access Director

Australian Trail Horse Riders Association

 

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