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Protesters keep up fight to save brumbies in high country

“We’ll continue protesting because we’re in a situation of feeling totally powerless,” she said.

Ms Pickering said her group was happy to discuss ways of managing wild horse numbers, but would oppose any attempt to wipe them out.

“We do have a problem with managing to extinction,” she said.

Victorian National Parks Association spokesman Phil Ingamells said hard-hooved animals did terrible damage to sensitive plants and animals in alpine areas.

“They’re quite precious ecosystems. They can’t exist anywhere else, but the horses can,” he said.

A survey by the Australian Alps National Parks Co-operative Management Program found the feral horse population had surpassed 25,000 in the Australian Alps in 2019.

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But the Australian Brumby Alliance disputes these figures and has called for a recount, arguing the summer’s bushfires would have killed many horses.

The Victorian opposition has flagged its intention to join the fight, with Liberal MP Wendy Lovell confirming she would move a motion in State Parliament to halt the “broadscale shooting” of brumbies.

She said shooting as a means of controlling the feral horse population should be ruled out and other techniques such as trapping and rehoming used instead.

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