ESA Hot Topic: Feral horses in Australia

I recently contributed to the Ecological Society of Australia’s new ‘Hot Topics’, a forum for scientists to summarise important ecological issues in a brief format suitable for a broad audience. There have been some excellent Hot Topics so far, synthesising the science underpinning controversial issues, such as the decline of the dingo and the effect of cattle grazing on fire risk in the high country.

My Hot Topic focuses on the ecological impact of feral horses on native ecosystems. This took me back to my honours year, when I studied the human dimensions of feral horse management, which involved a review of the human and ecological aspects of the issue. My Hot Topic synthesises information from around the world to conclude that feral horses can have substantial, negative impacts on native ecosystems.

Don Driscoll and Sam Banks authored an article on the same issue in The Conversation , where they detail a personal experience in which they observed starving feral horses cannibalising one another. If you are interested in the issue, or merely have a penchant for the macabre, then click on the video below: