The number of brumbies roaming the Australian Alps national parks are growing at an alarming rate, threatening water catchments and the ecology of the region, an ACT Labor government minister warns.
ACT Environment and Heritage Minister Mick Gentleman says aerial surveillance by the Australian Alps liaison Committee show more than 25,000 horses are now roaming freely across three large areas of the national park.
That is more than double the number found in the same areas just five years ago.
"Heavy hoofed pests such as feral horses are damaging the landscape," Mr Gentleman said after recently touring the impacted areas.
"We need to conserve our water quality and protect critically endangered animals like the northern corroboree frog, which lives in the moist alpine bogs of the ACT high country."
He said the integrity of high-country areas is vital to preserve the quality of Canberra's drinking water and the water that flows from the Australian Alps, which contributes more than 30 per cent of inflows into the Murray-Darling system.
"I have raised and will continue to press the issue with my state and federal government colleagues," Mr Gentlemen said in a statement on Monday.
He said the ACT government has recently finished a review of its current feral horse management plan.
While it shows the plan has effectively prevented the re-establishment of feral horse populations in the Namadgi National Park, it also acknowledges the increased threat from significant feral horse populations in the northern end of the Kosciuszko National Park bordering the ACT.
The review's findings will inform a new ACT feral horse management plan in 2020.
Australian Associated Press