Deputy Premier and Member for Monaro John Barilaro has welcomed the release of the final report of a Spring 2020 survey showing just over 14,000 brumbies call the Kosciuszko National Park home.
The new data comes after Mr Barilaro pleaded with Environment Minister Matt Kean for an urgent survey of the horses in the park following the prolonged drought and unprecedented bushfire season.
"The results of this survey show we were justified in our push for an urgent recount of the wild horses in the Park," Mr Barilaro said.
"Results from the 2019 survey that there were 19,000 horses in the Kosciuszko National Park were simply not reflective of what the community knew to be true," Mr Barilaro said.
"The questionable results of that survey, coupled with the drought and widespread devastation of last summer's fires, mean it was not plausible that there were 19,000 horses in the park.
"When it comes to managing the population of wild horses in the park, the NSW Government remains committed to finding a balance between managing the environmental impact and recognising the cultural and heritage significance of the iconic brumby.
"I'm pleased that we're finally dealing in facts and we can now get on with finding the right balance as we promised.
"I accept that the figure of just over 14,000 wild horses in the Park is still too high and that the active management of their impact on the Park's alpine environment must continue.
"The NSW Government has always said that we will remove brumbies from the Park and this is already being done using passive trapping and rehoming methods, and perhaps down the track with fertility control methods.
"I also understand that some won't accept this figure of just over 14,000 wild horses in the park. I appreciate your concerns but I've been assured that these survey results are based on world best practice and have been independently peer reviewed by the CSIRO and the Queensland Department of Agriculture."
The survey results will inform a new draft wild horse management plan, setting out how to reduce the horse population to a sustainable level, while protecting the environment and recognising the wild brumby's heritage value.
In 2020, over 340 horses were removed from the park by passive trapping and re-homing. This interim program focusing on the Nungar Plain, Cooleman Plain and Kiandra Plain will continue pending the finalisation of the new management plan.