Australia, too many wild horses: they will be shot down by helicopters

Australia opens fire on wild horses. In the Kosciuszko National Park, in the south-east of the country, there are around 19 thousand of them and the state authorities of New South Wales want to reduce the number to 3 thousand by the first half of 2027. Brumbies, as wild horses are called, they will be killed with rifle shots to the heart and head by rangers on board helicopters.

The motivations

This is an extreme measure, and certainly an unpopular one. But it was deemed indispensable to protect flora and fauna: “Native species are on the brink of extinction and the entire ecosystem is threatened by the excessive number of wild horses,” said the New South Wales Environment Minister Penny Sharpe says she wants to eliminate “brumbies” on the ground with firearms or traps, as happens now, is no longer sufficient. “It’s not an easy decision to make, no one would want to kill wild horses,” Sharpe admitted. The helicopter selection method had already been used for a short period in 2000, when more than 600 specimens were killed in the space of three days, but local authorities later backed down in the face of public outrage.

The protests

Opponents of culling point out that horses are part of Australia’s national identity: brumbies were celebrated by the poet and journalist Banjo Paterson (1864-1941), famous for his glorification of rural Australia. And a rugby team from the capital Canberra is also known as “Brumbies”.