Spirit horses

The next minutes are completely mesmerising. The two stallions fight, fifty metres from me. Dust hangs in the air around them, their screams echo off the hills, the impact of their hoof strikes reverberates in my belly. They rear, scream, snake heads out to bite, whirl and kick.

Stallion, Kosciuszko. Image: Dr Andrea Harvey

This week The Conversation published my ‘Friday Essay’ on wild horses in Australia, and the excerpt above describes one of my many wild horse encounters. Horses are the most recent of the main species humans domesticated, and the least different (with cats) from their wild counterparts.

Australia has the largest wild horse herd in the world, 400,000 or more, spread across nearly every landscape in the country, and their presence is deeply controversial. Six thousand of them are in Kosciuszko National Park. The polarised reactions and accusations in the comments thread to my essay demonstrate entrenched views on both sides. Unfortunately, the comments often also demonstrate fairly unthinking responses, with little attention to the substance of the essay. Continue reading

The very Australian camel

Just in time for Australia Day, AUSCCER’s Leah Gibbs talks with award-winning radio producer Michael Schubert of Soundminds Radio on the subject of the very Australian camel.

Their conversation challenges the ideas of ‘feral’ and ‘invasive’ species, and questions what it means to belong in Australia.

Tune in to the Community Radio Network at 10:45am EST on Thursday 26 January, or listen here.   Continue reading

Indigenous people and invasive species – proceedings from the World Parks Congress

Last December, Jenny Atchison (with Lesley Head) shared a video of their presentation delivered at the World Parks Congress in Sydney. Since this time, Jenny, Lesley and a number of symposium presenters have collaborated and proudly present a global community booklet – Indigenous people and invasive species: Perceptions, management, challenges and uses.

Published by the IUCN & CEN Ecosystems and Invasive Species Thematic Group, the booklet encapsulates 15 case studies on Indigenous people and invasive plants from around Australia, including Lesley and Jenny’s research on Indigenous Invasive Plant Management in Northern Australia.

IPIS booklet_V4_Page_01

Ens, E., Fisher, J. and Costello, O. (Editors) (2015) Indigenous people and invasive species: Perceptions, management, challenges and uses. IUCN Commission on Ecosystem Management Community Report.