Concern for brumbies

By James Bennett

The Barmah Brumbies Preservation Group’s Murray Willaton believes more could have been done to prevent brumbies dying from starvation in the Barmah National Park.

According to Mr Willaton flooding in the 77,000 acre park has caused the wild horses to relocate to a small area park.

He believed many of the brumbies were already struggling to cope with drought conditions and added despite calls from his group to Parks Victoria to help the horses, the response was poor.

He estimates prior to recent deaths, the population was about 150 to 200.

‘‘The group has raised significant funds already to regularly feed the remaining brumbies,’’ Mr Willaton said.

‘‘We’ll be providing hay for these brumbies so they don’t have to suffer any further.

‘‘I’m disgusted by the fact these horses have been treated so cruelly.

‘‘We brought this issue up with them about two and a half weeks ago.

‘‘All we’re asking for is common sense from Parks Victoria to step in to ensure no more brumbies die,’’ Mr Willaton said.

Parks Victoria Chief Conservation Scientist Dr Mark Norman said Parks Victoria were tracking the brumbies and that the group would humanely euthanise starving horses if necessary.

‘‘We understand people’s concerns about animals that are being affected by dry conditions.

Parks Victoria’s staff, with the support of RSPCA Victoria and local veterinarians, are conducting regular patrols of the park to monitor the condition of animals and to respond to incidences of distressed animals.

‘‘This response includes where necessary humanely euthanising severely malnourished horses under strict protocols.

‘‘Current management actions, including euthanising starving horses, is an immediate response to welfare issues and the severe conditions in the park,’’ Dr Norman said.