WILDLIFE AND BRUMBIES
Contrary to popular propaganda, the native wildlife in the Snowy region would prefer to keep their big protectors, the wild equines, in their eco-system where they have been for 200 years. They see the fast dwindling numbers (now way less than the legislated 3,000) who are scattered over thousands of hectares. They tell me they need them. And they are frightened to lose them. They want us to save them, to save the wilderness for all the wild living.
But not for the terrifying, invading two-legged predators who litter and trample and shoot and poison, and hoon around on bikes and noisy, heavy cars.
They are frightened of them.
Here’s a true story from our sanctuary of how the brumbies help other species. This is a story, not from a scientist with an agenda living in a city far away, but someone with fine-tuned extra senses living with actual wildlife and actual brumbies.,
This is the story of Shinti the kangaroo. And as a side note, while I was sitting out all day in the paddock with the wild herds and the wild kangaroos, I noticed how much frog noise was coming from the dam, where one horse was splashing. The water there is pristine. The frogs were in abundance showing their health. And the health of a healthy eco system.
And this is on a tiny fraction of land compared to what the few KNP brumbies roam on.
The Brumbies and Shinti the Roo
My telepathic and empathetic connection with the animals of the KNP is so very strong because I live with many of them here in our sanctuary.
I hear them calling for help. I watched as some slipped through a portal to a different dimension and others made the brave choice to stay and face whatever came.
They hoped humanity would see them for who they really are. They couldn’t believe humans could be capable of so much cruelty. They saw the best in us.
Much like the Bean Sidhe of Irish folklore, one of the psychic gifts I was born with, is knowing when death is coming.
I cry before death. I wail before a death. And I usually don’t know who is leaving until their absence makes it known. It is usually animal souls who are contacting me this way.
And I was crying again, overwhelmed by the sadness and desperation I was feeling… which wasn’t mine.
I tracked the call to the KNP — the wilderness of the Snowy Mountains. But it wasnt the horses. The horses were valiant. Soldiers for the Light.
It was the other wildlife.
The Little Ones, as the horses call them.
They missed their big protectors. The ones who kept the undergrowth and grasses down to stop the fires being so wild and hot. The ones who make a little path for them to follow to water or food. A little path they could follow in troubled times, like fires.
They were so frightened of living without them.
In the 200 years they have been living together, they have grown dependent on these large gentle giants and their forcefield of healing.
It’s something most people don’t know, but I have witnessed many times. I live with wild horses and I observe them in natural family clans, taking notes of how they live and how their society operates.
The other day, Andrew went to feed them and found one family in a circle, alerting him that something was wrong. Indeed, a tiny roo with a baby was what he found. And the mother was hurt and couldn’t move.
He called me. I called the local wildlife carers. But they ccouldn’t get here till 3 pm. So I went to this particular paddock and stayed with the little roo called Shinti for all the hours it took.
The horses meanwhile did not leave.
They stood just a little way a way, sometimes one of two coming close to check out me and the car. But the whole time we sat there together, I could feel their healing energy.
They were both protecting Shinti and sending healing to her.
And they did that till Steve arrived to take her to his wildlife hospital. Then they quietly moved off.
It’s not the first time I have seen them circle a roo in trouble, lending their protection and support. I remember one year we got there too late to help. A little joey was stuck in a fence. It happened during the night, probably due to farmers shooting at them.
The little one was long gone when we found his body. But the horses had stayed with him all night, right until the end. We could tell by the amount of manure they left. They protected his little body, making sure no predator would hurt him.
We buried that little one with one of the other horses who passed away soon after. I knew that was acceptable to all the families. The grief was palpable.
I also witnessed our Kiandra Grey stallion share his drought rationed hay with a hungry wombat. That also alerted me that it was time to feed the wildlife, which we did until the spring rains came long after the drought and the Black Summer fires. A huge job. But once again… alerted by the brumbies to help.
People have been told that horses damage the “fragile” wilderness. But the wilderness survived exceptionally well with horses taking the role of the keystone large herbivore, vacated by now extinct mega fauna killed off by human hunters.
And the Little Ones don’t want the horses to go as well.
The Minister for the Environment in NSW, Penny Sharpe, is keen to eradicate the last remaining brumbies from the “Park” because she wants… in her words… “pest-free havens”. She wants to bring back exceptionally cruel aerial shooting.
How can someone say on national television in the same breath, “I love horses.. and we are shooting them.” Love is not violence, or murder. iIt is not taking the life of innocents who just want to live.
The ground shot Snowy horses that we have witnessed did not die cleanly, humanely or instantly. They died in terror peppered with bullets, foals aborting.
The grizzly sight of their bodies strewn across their own protected “retention zone”, sent shock waves through the animal-loving community and pushed one of my friends to take her own life. This kind of cruelty to others is hard on people who love, and most of the brumby-loving community are struggling. Of course, when I have written to the politicians about this impact on animal lovers, it falls into the silent nothingness of non-caring.
They never respond.
It’s impossible to get a clean shot from the air. And meanwhile, the horses are panicked by the helicopter and gun shots. They aren’t sitting still, waiting for the required neat shot to the skull. No, they are running away as fast as they can, peppered with bullets, in pain and often bleeding out for days. Because of course there are no vet checks or any checks.
Mares are often pregnant, or with brand new foals. Total innocents. Again, mares abort, and the living foals are either shot by psychopaths or taken by other predators.
Aerial shooting breaks all the rules of animal welfare standards.
In 2000, we Australians were horrified by the cruelty of the Guy Fawkes horse massacre. There was a huge outcry as we all witnessed graphic footage of what a cull actually is,. A genocidal blood bath, The Labor Party under Bob Carr promised to never ever aerially cull again.
But now Penny Sharpe wants to bring it back.
I have to say I am shocked that a woman in 2023 would show such a lack of compassion and empathy. But the Federal Minister for the Environment, also a woman, yesterday said that Australia was “leading the global war against invasive species.”
And that is what this is. A war, with all its toxic, patriarchal blood-thirsty game-playing.. but on innocent animals instead of humans. Animals who can’t and won’t fight back.
Sharpe knows the correct numbers of horses in the Park, because she has been presented with real figures.. twice. In June 2023 –a group of 70 people counted 653 horses. And independent biostatician Clare Galea also did a count. She says the figures of 18,000 to 23,500 is a complete and utter biological impossibility,
But instead of calling a halt to the bloodshed until she could ensure a count for herself, Sharpe ordered NSW Parks and Wildlife to continue trapping and shooting and sending horses to the slaughter houses at breathtaking speed.
Her agenda is clear… total eradication.
And please don’t be fooled by the media reports. The media footage they use of a large group of horses is from The Man from Snowy River. The horses in the film aren’t even brumbies. They are thorougbreds… equine actors hired for the movie. So it’s all smoke and mirrors.
The reality you would see if you went down to the Snowy… would be the odd small brumby family here and there. Locals says they are getting harder and harder to find, so few remain,
We have till Monday, September 11 to voice our disgust and say no to cruelty and violence. Sharpe is already acting against Legislation, a law unto herself. She is only taking advisement from bodies like the Invasive Species Council and refuses to meet with anyone pro-brumby, including renowned environmental scientist Karen Summers, who she rudely stood up when Karen travelled all the way from South Australia to meet with her.
Apparently we are all dismissed as “emotional activists”. Even if we are intelligent, educated, and have something worthwhile to add to the conversation.
Overseas progressive conservationists and ecologists have questioned the whole invasive species narrative and are working to discover how introduced species can benefit the environments they find themselves in. The wild equine, a resident of this planet for over 30 million years, has been found to have so much benefit they are calling them “the species who could save the planet”.
The ultimate question though, despite whatever you think about wild horses, is what kind of world do you want to live in? A violent one? Or a compassionate one?
Because my strong intuition is that this is not just about brumbies, It’s certainly not about the environment and the native species because otherwise there wouldn’t be such a push to get more than the three million current tourists to the Snowy with international airports and Aspen style ski lodges on the agenda. Nobody is worried about habitat when it comes to money.
I sense if we say yes to cruelty, we are saying yes to a bigger “war”. And it does not bode well for humanity, And especially not animals.
I also sense that if the Little Ones suddenly lose their Big Protectors, the Snowy region is going to be out of balance. The eco-system will suffer. Two hundred years is a long time to live in symbiotic harmony. Further, there’s no one to eat the long grass and the undergrowth. This creates fire fuel and we are already looking at a dangerous summer. No wonder the Little Ones are worried.
Please choose compassion. There is always another way to do things.
Save the Snowy Wilderness from the insanity of humans who don’t understand the loving interconnections that go on behind the scenes in the natural world.
Here is the post from the NSW Government where they call for submissions about their plan to add aerial culling to the list of things they can do to the brumbies:
You can respond to this using these methods:
- complete the online survey
- email to firstname.lastname@example.org
- post to The Project Team, Kosciuszko National Park Wild Horse Heritage Management Plan
National Parks and Wildlife Service
PO Box 472
Tumut NSW 2720
- via the online submission form at the bottom of the Amending etc. page linked to above.
What you say doesn’t have to be long. Aerial culling is inhumane, cruel, and totally unacceptable.
Or you can go into depth. The important thing is that we have to make a stand for the Light. We have to make a stand for animals. All animals. This cruelty has to end,.
Here’s a submission you can draw points from, from lawyer Marilyn Nuske. Change the wording to make it your own.
“No ground or aerial shooting of Brumbies should take place because both are proven to be cruel. Population counts are flawed, proven by equine scientist Joanne Canning and biostatistician Claire Galea. There must be new population counts using different methodology. Based on evidence to date, it is only reasonable the government must obtain a new population survey.Lower real numbers are likely to confirm, gentle rehoming may be suitable and adequate, when an independent report on population and impact is prepared. Rehoming may not be warranted due to the lack of evidence about impacts, and low numbers, and removing brumbies will not change anything.I refer to report “Assessment of animal welfare for helicopter shooting of feral horses” (Jordan O. HamptonA,H, Glenn P. Edwards B Brendan D. CowledC,David M. Forsyth D,E Timothy H. HyndmanA Andrew L. PerryF Corissa J. MillerG,Peter J. AdamsA and Teresa Collins A). The report raises questions about whether or not shooting horses from a helicopter is an effective tool to reduce populations.Regardless of how skilled a shooter is, there is no guarantee all horses will be humanely euthenased with a single gun shot, (as required per SOP’s) and many will be left to die drawn out deaths in a cruel and inhumane way. The research was conducted in Central Australia, in a flat untreed environment, bearing no resemblance to the terrain of high level treed canopies and mountainous areas, where brumbies live in either Victoria or New South Wales.The flat central Australian landscape gave clear visibility to shooters, and although visibility was high, the shooters still delivered 1 to 6 shots per horse, but limited head shot or even a head and chest shot was possible, delivering a quick death, horses were peppered with shots to legs, backs, flanks and spine.And even so, success rate of death, was not a “humane death”, but subsequent death was only 63%. Fly back was not prompt, to ensure all horses were dead. In a treed environment with limited visibility, the fly back and check on death, will be even longer and will lead to extended deaths, if all horses are able to be located in a canopied or mountainous area with wounded horses hiding.This research has proven aerial shooting not to be a humane and acceptable approach to wild horse management in Victoria and New South Wales. The report confirms that aerial shooting cannot and does not satisfy standard operating procedures. Aerial shooting is influenced by many factors, including shooter skill, shooter fatigue, helicopter pilot skill and capacity, on the day of shooting. Standard Operating Procedures do not support ground shooting free roaming horses where a clear view of a single horse cannot be achieved to ensure a clean head shot (preferred). Shooting a mob of roaming brumbies will result in horses running after the first shot, whether or not a silencer is used. The startle of a horse falling will cause other horses to run with fear with a resultant blood bath as shooters try to take head shots, which will be impossible and has led to horses being found with gut shots, shots to the neck and back, all of which will have suffered long drawn out deaths.Aerial shooting during foaling season does not support Standard Operating Procedure due to the likelihood of a mare with foal at foot being shot and foal left to starve.
Finally, I oppose brumbies being shot in traps. It is cruel and unnecessary.”
Animal Liberation has also included some thoughts you can use in your submissions. Here:
I also wrote a submission for the Senate Inquiry which you can find here and you can look at what I said for that in your argument against the brutish, horrendously cruel genocide that is aerial shooting.
It all comes down to the bigger picture… what kind of world do you want? Kind and compassionate to all species? Or violent, creating fear and darkness. And that comes down to you. If you do nothing, and don’t act at all, you stand with the Dark.
Apathy has no place at this extremely critical time.
But I believe that if you are here, you are a person of huge heart, and you will say no to aerial culling, and help save both the wilderness and its Little Ones, and the free-living equines called brumbies.
Thank you for help creating a better world for all species. Because a vote against cruelty and violence, is definitely a step towards a better world for us, and future generations.
And it’s definitely better for animals.
Update: Shinti the roo is doing exceptionally well in the care of Possomwood. She and her daughter Shona will stay there until she is repaired enough to return. She is getting physiotherapy and vet care. We are so grateful to Steve and his team.
And huge thanks to the brumbies of A Place of Peace who protected her from harm, sent her healing, and alerted us. They saved her life because we would never have found her without their help.