The first aerial survey since the catastrophic 2019 bushfires has found that the number of wild horses in the Kosciuszko National Park has fallen by more than a quarter.
The survey found there are now an estimated 14,000 horses — 5,000 fewer than the previous year.
The NSW Environment Minister Matt Kean said while there had been some reduction in numbers, the population remained too large to be environmentally sustainable.
Jamie Pittock from the Fenner School of Environment and Society at the Australian National University said the survey demonstrated that there has been no real change in the number of wild horses.
"The numbers in the 2020 survey, scientifically they are not statistically significantly different from the 2019 pre-fire survey," he said.
"It's really hard to count any large animals in a large area of bushland so statistically the numbers fall within the error range of the surveys of 2019 and 2020."