Australia plans to kill thousands of wild horses by shooting them from helicopters, environment official says

brown horse standing in snow, facing camera
A member of a small herd of Brumbies, affectionally named 'the welcoming committee' by local horse watchers, rests in deep snow in Australia's Kosciuszko National Park.Brook Mitchell/Getty Images
  • The Australian government plans to kill wild horses by shooting them from the air.

  • "There are simply too many wild horses in Kosciuszko National Park," an environment official said.

  • About 19,000 wild horses live in the park, according to Reuters.

Feral horses are threatening native wildlife and must be killed, an Australian environment official said this week.

"There are simply too many wild horses in Kosciuszko National Park," Penny Sharpe, environment minister for New South Wales, said this week, The Guardian reported. "Threatened native species are in danger of extinction, and the entire ecosystem is under threat. We must take action."

About 19,000 wild horses, dubbed "brumbies," are believed to live in the park, which is located in southwest Australia, AFP reported. The goal is to reduce the population to 3,000 by 2027.

"This was not an easy decision — no one wants to have to kill wild horses," Sharpe said.

Across Australia, the population of wild horses is believed to be over 400,000.

Australian authorities have tried to reduce the population with aerial killings before. In 2000, more than 600 wild horses were shot in three days, according to The Independent. The public backlash led to a two-decade hiatus, the outlet reported.

The return to aerial killing comes after environmental officials tried unsuccessfully to significantly reduce the horse population via traps and rehoming of captured animals, among other less controversial tactics, per Australian broadcaster ABC.

Read the original article on Insider