Feral horses on the move

Date published: 19 March 2021

Motorists driving in the Black River, Bluewater and Alligator Creek areas are being warned to be on the lookout for feral horses.

Townsville City Council Community Health, Safety and Environmental Sustainability Committee chairperson Maurie Soars said Council had seen an increase in the number of reports of feral horses grazing on the roadside in these suburbs.

“We’re also aware of a number of recent near-misses between cars and horses,” Cr Soars said.

“These animals are dangerous - if you see a feral horse on the roadside, please slow down and drive extra carefully and, as soon as possible, report the animal to Council by calling 13 48 10.”

Cr Soars said feral horses had no natural predator in Australia and their population was estimated to grow by around 20% annually.

“They spread weeds and can carry exotic diseases like equine influenza, tick fever and African Horse sickness,” he said.

“Feral horses damage or destroy fences to get to domestic horses and feral stallions can also injure horse riders when attempting to steal a domestic mare to increase his herd.

“Council has a local Biosecurity Plan that manages invasive species in Townsville and feral horses are a critical priority in that plan.

“We will continue to work with stakeholders and landholders to mitigate the risks posed by feral horses.”