For decades the public has been indoctrinated by Australian schools and universities that Brumbies only cause damage. This doctrine is now pushed by environmental, national park and governments to claim that wild horses “threaten” national park native species.
This deeply embedded indoctrination has now reached fever pitch with frequent calls from environmental lobbyists to shoot large Brumby numbers, and in Victoria, total extermination.
When asked why such mass killing is needed, park managers and environmentalists say it is because Brumbies are not native (i.e. not here before Europeans arrived in 1788) and so, all species not here before 1788 (except post 1788 humans) must be killed to return the park landscape to its “pristine” pre-1788 era.
Such a reply is emotive, not scientific. The pre 1788 “pristine” environment vanished long ago when new settlers ended traditional Aboriginal land management. As a result, within 100 years, flora and fauna introduced by European settlers spread to such an extent that the pre 1788 landscape has changed permanently, for example:
Davis, et al. (2011) argue with regard to this issue that it is “impractical to try to restore ecosystems to some ‘rightful’ historical state … it is time for conservationists to focus much more on the functions of species, and much less on where they originated”.
Laura Verbrugge explains in Implications for Risk Assessment and Management of Non-Native Species (2016):
“Ecological impact criteria, which function as operational guidelines to distinguish between invasive and not invasive, do not always incorporate clear, ‘objective,’ or noncontroversial definitions and quantifiable effect measures. The effectiveness and usefulness of risk assessment procedures have been questioned by Hulme (2012), who states that many lack consistent hazard identification and that risk assessors should be trained to limit cognitive biases.”
And Crystal Fortwangler (2013) in Untangling Introduced and Invasive Animals states:
“We also see through increasing interdisciplinary conversations that soften the disciplinary edges about how to think and what to do (if anything) about introduced species. There are also shifts within disciplines to re-examine long-held dictums”.
Now is the time to reconsider the flaws in Australian Wild Horse studies and learn how wild horses in moderate numbers can be helpful to species in the landscapes they have evolved within.