Wildlife Research Wildlife Research Society
Ecology, management and conservation in natural and modified habitats

Ecological and human dimensions of management of feral horses in Australia: a review

Dale Graeme Nimmo A B and Kelly K. Miller A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Deakin University, 221 Burwood Highway, Burwood, Vic. 3125, Australia.

B Corresponding author. Landscape Ecology Research Group, Deakin University, 221 Burwood Highway, Burwood, Vic. 3125, Australia. Email: dgni@deakin.edu.au

Wildlife Research 34(5) 408-417 https://doi.org/10.1071/WR06102
Submitted: 9 August 2006  Accepted: 12 July 2007   Published: 6 September 2007


In Australia, the management of feral horse populations is a contentious issue, owing to their pluralistic status as an introduced pest and a national icon. In this review, we synthesise current knowledge of the ecological effects of feral horses and the human dimensions of feral horse management, using case studies from around the world to illustrate contentious and successful management practices. We highlight gaps in the literature and suggest that more peer-reviewed research would be beneficial in reducing the current public controversy surrounding management of feral horses.


Special thanks go to Simon James of Deakin University for his extremely helpful comments and suggestions, to Dr Robyn Adams of the School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Deakin University, for comments on early drafts, and to Dr Michelle Dawson for her continued assistance in obtaining information on matters related to the management of feral horses. Further thanks go to Katherine Och, Dr John White, Dr John Morgan, L. T. Kelly, Simon Watson and Brad Farmilo. Thanks also go Jenny Dyring, Dr Guy Ballard and Dr Peter Brussard for sending documents that would have otherwise been unavailable. We also express our appreciation of two anonymous referees who added greatly to the focus and content of this paper.


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