Heritage Brumbies 200 Years Living in Australia's National Parks

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This has  become a matter of International interest and significance. The eyes and ears of the world are supporting Australia's Brumbies, and we thank you. 

WE DEMAND an immediate and independent count of all brumbies within the Victorian Alpine National Park and the Barmah Forest. There has been no population count undertaken in the Alpine Park since the wildfires of 2019. Nobody knows how many Brumbies were killed during the wildfires or what population survives today. No action of any kind should be taken without knowing a population and current plans to cull and remove Brumbies is reckless and fixated on false and scientifically unproven claims of "damage" within the Parks. 

The Andrews  Labor Government misled by extremist elements links false population numbers to alleged damage caused by Brumbies which is scientifically unproven, misleading and designed to desensitize the community to the destruction of Heritage brumby populations by incorrectly blaming brumbies for damage to native habitat  native species,  which is false. There is in fact no science  produced to evidence these extremist fake claims.

Barmah national park numbers are also  in dispute as is the methodology used for population counts of Brumbies in the 3 key areas, mathematically and scientifically, numbers claimed are impossible. Brumby populations are self stabilising and numbers have changed over the 200 years of their presence to reflect seasonal and other changes for example bushfires and other natural events, like flooding and drought in Barmah Forest. 

Destructive Elements at Play within Decision Makers Departments

Destructive, extremist  elements within the bureaucracy of State Governments wish to destroy brumbies and in so doing try to expunge  the positive role Brumbies have played in the natural evolution and ecology of our National Parks, our social and cultural history, and this is unacceptable. These  destructive extremist and unelected elements must not be allowed to dictate or interfere in decision making processes concerning our cultural and social history, and most importantly the destruction of our Heritage Brumbies. 

Bushfires of 2003 reportedly reduced Brumby populations in the  Alpine Park by 41% according to a 2009 report to the Alpine National Park authority.

The wildfires of 2019 were more ferocious than any previously seen bushfires. It  is reasonable to believe that brumby populations were more than halved in 2019, yet the Minister,  misled by  extremist elements ignores the numerical facts and and lack of independent science and threatens to  take steps that will impact the sustainability of Heritage brumby populations.

Locals to the Barmah area dispute Parks Victoria claims of 550 plus Brumbies living in the Barmah Forest,  and say it is more likely there are only 200 to 230  Brumbies that are living in the Forest.

A Moratorium on current management plans.

No action  of any kind concerning brumbies living in the 3 key areas of Barmah, Bogong or Eastern Alps, including trapping rehoming or shooting, should be taking place.  We demand a numbers count, the enactment of Victorian Brumby Legislation and the appointment of a community advisory panel which shall make recommendations to the Minister on an  appropriate and suitable Management Plan for the 3 key Victorian areas. 

The Cultural and Heritage Value of Brumbies 

Brumbies are an integral part of Australia’s social history and hold important cultural and heritage value for all Australians. 

Today’s Brumbies are descendants of the same founding stock of Brumbies that were used during  World War 1.  Genetic sampling has been taking place since 2014 with Australian Brumbies being included in the World Wild Horse Data base, undertaken by the university of Texas with Dr Gus Cothran at the helm.

To date,  DNA sampling has established a DNA line individual to the Barmah Horses and Barmah National park with over 80 samples tested.

The Australian Brumby is a much-loved iconic figure and has been immortalized in Elyne Mitchell’s Silver Brumby books, recorded in many poems, films, songs, internationally acclaimed artworks and folklore since colonization.

Brumbies contributed toward establishing the colonies in Australia.

Sustainable Brumby Populations

To ensure the survival of our Heritage Brumbies it is crucial that plans to exterminate  Brumbies in the Bogong High plains, Barmah and the Eastern Alps be replaced by Plans to manage sustainable Brumby populations in the 3 areas that Brumbies have inhabited for 140-200 years, long before their homelands were declared national parks. 

Extensive DNA testing  has been conducted on horses in NSW and Victoria, DNA testing has shown that Brumbies have a robust, healthy genetic makeup. With this in mind we must not forget the sheer cruelty of  the “Guy Fawkes massacre” and the more recent loss of Brumbies at Singleton Army Base when an entire blood line was wiped out in one day. These sorts of events must not be allowed to happen again.

Brumbies contribute positively to the flora in areas where they live. They contribute to the ecological biodiversity and have done so well before National Parks came into being. The biodiversity of National Parks has  evolved over 200 years and populations of species inluding Brumbies cohabit successfully. 

As large Herbivores Brumbies contribute in a positive way to the National Park floor which is unacknowledged by Parks Victoria or extremist elements that use Brumbies as "scapegoats" in their politicised attempts to remove Brumbies.

The State Government and Parks Victoria ignore current and international independent science that leans toward the reintroduction of large herbivore to the natural environment because of the ecological benefits gained in areas where large herbivore had previously been removed.   Brumbies in fact forage on growth that reduces fire hazards, they spread and reintroduce seeds, their contribution is widely acknowledged by independent science.  The  presence of Brumbies is in fact complimentary to native species and Brumbies have lived symbiotically and successfully with native and other wildlife in our National Parks for nearly 200 years.

There is in fact no direct evidence to prove  Brumbies cause  alleged negative impact on National Parks habitat and native species claimed by extremist political elements.

Good Management requires Brumby populations be -   formally recognised for their direct links to original settler founding stock, and   their essential contribution to early settlement survival, and as army remounts,

enshrined in Australia’s history, which in turn informs Australians today how they evolved to current generations, and inspire strong aesthetic values for films, poems, paintings, and tourism.

acknowledged within a community management group who ought work together with Parks  to identify the appropriate numbers for each of the three Victorian Locations

address conservation concerns raised by all first nation groups of sacred sites within all National Parks.

Too much of any population, animals or humans  can cause damage, and to date the Brumbies have been used as the easily seen target to "blame" and eradicate without independent scientific evidence that proves brumbies cause damage.

Eradication of our Brumbies is socially and culturally irresponsible and potentially cruel. Any attempt to eradicate Brumbies ought be resisted, and in any event should be beyond the decision making input of any extremist political elements, keen to ignore the Heritage value of our Brumbies and the contribution they have made to Australia's cultural and social history.

Brumbies and Tourism Brumbies perform  a significant tourist attraction for both the Alpine region and  Barmah Forest/Wetlands, attracting tourists to Victoria’s alpine regions and Barmah Forest with many local horse and adventure activities and trail operators and local businesses dependent on Brumbies remaining in the wild in Alpine and Barmah regions.88% of Australians support Conservation The recent Lonegan survey found that 88% of Victorians would support efforts to preserve a  herd of Brumbies living in the wild.    82% of Victorians believe that Brumbies are an important part of Australia’s history worthy of preservation and that 84% of Victorians support  research into the  impact upon the environment by other wild animals, extreme weather events and humans.

Flawed Research 

Research thus far relied on by the Victorian Government does not fully assess ALL impacts, both positive and negative, and fails to differentiate impacts from other introduced species, reporting instead on Brumbies, yet reports relied on do not prove that Brumbies irrevocably damage the environment, and policies based on flawed research are a highly questionable drain on taxpayers’ money with significant and alarming potential for tragic loss of Australia’s Cultural heritage.

In order to conserve our Brumbies it is vital that Brumby research accurately reflect the dynamics of Brumby populations and how they interact in the environment in  order to preserve and conserve a viable Brumby population in the key areas of Victoria

The enactment of  Legislation to protect Victorian Brumbies,  the  “Victorian Brumby Heritage Act” (Vic)  shall  “recognise the heritage value of sustainable wild horse populations within the Barmah, Alpine National Park and surrounding area of the Bogong High Plains, and to protect that heritage.”

WE DEMAND recognition of Brumbies to our cultural and social history and as contributors to  the ecological biodiversity in Victorian national parks. 

WE DEMAND Heritage Brumby Legislation to protect Victorian Brumbies.

Marilyn Nuske/Ocean Legal/BRUMBY ACTION GROUP

Photo Credit:  Paul McIver.