One of the brumbies rehomed by the Alligator Creek Brumby Re-Homing Group.
One of the brumbies rehomed by the Alligator Creek Brumby Re-Homing Group.

Feral horse cull starts at national park

THE State Government has started culling feral horses from Bowling Green Bay National Park.

A blocking fence has been built and a horse trapper hired by Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service.

A service spokeswoman said the feral horses were being humanely euthanised.

"Horses pose a risk to human safety. QPWS is carrying out this operation in response to a coronial recommendation to control stray horses on public lands to mitigate the risk of horses straying onto public roads and endangering drivers," she said.

"Horses also have a negative impact on the environmental values of the National Park."

The spokeswoman said stock owners were given the opportunity to claim any horses they might own from the national park before the control program started.

"Letters were sent earlier this year notifying neighbours of QPWS' intent to remove horses from the park," she said.

"The letters advised neighbours to claim ownership and remove their horses from the park, or relinquish ownership."

The spokeswoman said no one expressed interest in removing stock or registered an ownership interest.

The Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service is only responsible for the management of animals in the national park, not outside of it.

"This will be a staged process that began with notifying neighbours of the plan to remove horses from the park," the spokeswoman said.

"Human safety and animal welfare will be our highest priorities."

Some walking tracks and Mt Elliot Bush Camping at Bowling Green Bay National Park have been temporarily closed during the culling program.

For feral horses causing problems around the Alligator Creek area, rangers will continue to work with police, Townsville City Council and the Department of Transport and Main Roads to remove animals in the area.

The council does not have the right to cull horses itself but can if contacted by private property owners. The council does have the authority to direct the State Government and other landowners to take action to control feral horses.

A Townsville City Council spokesman said council officers and a licenced contractor went to an Alligator Creek property this week to help manage a group of feral horses that wandered on to the property.

"One of the feral horses was rehomed but two feral horses were euthanised," he said.

"Feral horses are a significant hazard in the Alligator Creek area because they wander in large numbers near major roads, and council is working to do its part - along with Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service - to manage the issue."

There is concern in the Alligator Creek community about horses being killed and not rehomed.

A GoFundMe page to "save the Alligator Creek brumbies" has raised $2100.

Brad Hastewell from the Alligator Creek Brumby Re-Homing Group started the page.

He said he understood why there was a need to control the population of horses but said more could be done to save them.

"What we want people to do is to contact us and tell us they're there," he said.

"We have an experienced trapper in our group and he can help with what we want to do.

Mr Hastewell said the group was going to put traps on private properties in areas the brumbies frequented the most.

"We have a list of people that are willing to rehome them," he said.

For information search Rehoming Alligator Creek's Brumbies on Facebook.