Feral

The bitter clash of culture over Australia's wild horses

Feral In the magnificent high country of the Snowy Mountains, wild horses roam the land. Immortalised and celebrated in poems, books and films, these 'brumbies' are a spectacular sight, inspiring deep emotions. Not everyone subscribes to this romantic view of the history these horses are said to represent. An ugly divide is cutting through the country towns and surrounding mountains. At the centre of it is a question – are these horses a national icon or feral pests? Ecologists and rangers have been warning that one of the nation's most precious national parks is in deep trouble with soaring horse numbers creating major damage to the protected environment. Horse activists completely reject any assertions that the brumbies are to blame. The debate has turned ugly with online abuse, property damage and even death threats.
Ecologists have warned that the rising horse population is creating major damage to the protected environment. ‘If horses are allowed to persist in these really sensitive areas, they’re going to destroy them’, says Pam O’Brien, an ecologist. Horse activists reject assertions that the brumbies are to blame. ‘Whatever life I’ve got left in me, I’ll fight for them’, says Peter, who works with the horses.
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