Police are looking into a handwritten letter threatening to "firebomb" the offices of National Parks and Wildlife Service in Jindabyne in Australia. The terrorizing note comes after the discovery of 11 feral horses shot dead in Kosciuszko National Park.
Culling of feral horses is required under NSW legislation in an effort to reduce the damage that invasive species are causing to Kosciuszko's alpine wilderness. The New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) intend to reduce the number of feral horses in Kosciuszko National Park from 14,000 to 3,000 by 2027.
Chris Gambian, the Nature Conservation Council CEO, had welcomed the state authority's plan in 2021. He highlighted that horses in Kosciuszko National Park have been doing untold damage to iconic landscapes for decades.
However, the NPWS's plan hasn't gone down well with everyone. Intimidating comments have been popping up in social media groups. One such comment suggested someone to "shoot the dogs" responsible for the horse culls, and another said "they are gonna go one step too far and someone is going to start looking for these people".
The handwritten letter is the latest such threat. It said... "As a little act of retribution plan to pay a visit...and firebomb your premises! Make sure you are all very careful over the next couple of weeks, we would hate you to get burnt."
James Griffin, the state environment minister, said the NPWS team is dedicated and hardworking. He highlighted that no one should ever be threatened just for doing their job. "Anyone making such threats should expect to feel the full force of the law." Atticus Fleming, the head of NPWS, described the threat as a criminal act and should be condemned by all Australians. He said the parks service was working closely with NSW police and additional security measures were in place to protect workers.
Fleming outlined that the ongoing threats of violence toward NPWS staff on social media, have no place in the society. "NPWS staff are public officials implementing the law, despite very challenging circumstances."
Preserving the Wilderness
Nichole Overall, Monaro MP, called for a balanced approach and a need to review the plan, including the carcass management of the animals that have been left behind. She believes it's important to assure the community that a balanced approach was being taken. "It's finding that balance managing the horses and also preserving the most vulnerable wilderness areas of the park.
The NPWS said more than 330 horses have been removed but did not disclose details about what happened to the animals. Griffin on his part said the plan aimed to strike a balance between protecting the environment and the horses' heritage status but that community concerns prompted him to order a review. He has asked for an evaluation of the plan's implementation with the assistance of RSPCA NSW.
Conservation groups have also raised concerns that reducing the number of horses from 14,000 to 3,000, is very much high if the government wants to protect vulnerable ecosystems and native wildlife.
The state government reiterated that removal of wild horses would be carried out in accordance with best practice animal welfare requirements.