The state issue of whether or not to cull wild horses in the Kosciuszko National Park may become a federal one, with the Eden-Monaro byelection looming and the electorate straddling the northern end of the park.
Controversy has surrounded the proposed removal of 4000 wild horses in the northern sections of the park, with no action taken while COVID-19 restrictions have been in place.
In early May the Federal Court gave the green light to a winter cull on the Victorian side of the border until the Australian Brumby Alliance and cattleman Phil Maguire forced an injunction and is vowing to push the fight to the High Court.
These horses are but a fraction of the problem. They roam the Bogong High Plains and are part of the Parks Victoria culling plan. Thousands more roam the park to its north, in the federal Eden-Monaro electorate where a byelection is scheduled for July 4.
Should the Victorian campaign be lost, the stakes will be raised and the fight is certain to go national.
Meanwhile, the horse population in the northern end of the park is growing exponentially and the destruction caused to fragile alpine bogs, including areas vital to the ACT water supply, is increasing.
In February, the NSW department of environment said that it had "prioritised for control" three areas of the Kosciuszko National Park: the Nungar Plain, Cooleman Plain and parts of Boggy and Kiandra Plains, around 57,000 hectares in total and all located in the north of the park.
The wild horse population in those areas is around 19,000.
In 2018-2019, the park's horse "removal" program stalled completely. In 2019-2020, just 99 horses were removed and environmental damage wrought by the horses has increased significantly since the summer bushfires swept through parts of the park.
Andrew Cox, the chief executive officer of the Invasive Species Council which supports the euthanisation program, is frustrated by the delays in getting the 2020-2021 program underway and has called on the Eden-Monaro candidates to declare their position.
"Feral horse impacts on water quality at the source of three iconic rivers - the Snowy, Murray and Murrumbidgee - makes it an important national issue for any potential new federal member," he said.