The issue of how to manage wild horse populations in the Australian high country is a complex and vexed issue.

The NSW government has recently released a draft wild horse management plan for Kosciuszko national park which aims to cut the population of wild horses in the park from 6,000 to about 3,000 in the next five to 10 years.

The Guardian is reporting that plans to cull more than 5,000 brumbies in the Snowy Mountains has received the support of leading scientists from around Australia.

Forty-one scientists from 16 universities have written to the New South Wales premier, Mike Baird, to support the proposed cull of 90% of the brumby population in Kosciuszko national park.

They are backing a controversial NSW government plan to reduce the number of brumbies from 6,000 to 600 over 20 years, arguing it is needed to protect the delicate Alpine environment.

One of the signatories, Prof Don Driscoll from Deakin University, said the academics behind the letter represented the greatest pool of knowledge about Alpine ecosystems in the country. Horses were not compatible with nature conservation in a national park, Driscoll said.

“Horses are stock animals recently introduced and are not characteristic of this area, but threaten ecosystem processes, ecosystems and species that are characteristic,” he said on Friday.