About the GFHHA
We hope that the following paragraphs give the general public a greater awareness of why it was necessary for the GFHHA to be formed and how it came to be.
The Guy Fawkes River National Park is regarded as a "biodiversity hotspot" with over 40 different vegetation communities, 28 threatened plant species, 24 threatened fauna species and significant areas of old growth forest protected within the reserve. The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) has a legislative responsibility to protect all native habitats and wildlife within its reserves, this includes the Guy Fawkes River National Park. It also has a responsibility to minimise the impact of introduced species, including horses. Horses have been bred on lands in the vicinity of the GFRNP since the 1830s and have been present in a wild state since 1890's. Management of wild horse numbers in the park began in the early 1990s, with capture and removal programs focused on removing horses from river flats. In an effort to quickly reduce the large numbers of horses in the park, an aerial cull of horse was planned, and In October of 2000, over 600 horses in the Guy Fawkes were slaughtered from helicopters. Media coverage of the cull reached every corner of the world and the Australian Government was pressured to 'Please explain'!
In response, the Minister for the Environment, Mr Bob Debus, commissioned a study into the heritage value of horses in the park and indicated that, should the horses be found to have genuine heritage significance, they would be humanely removed from the park so that they can be managed properly in another location by people with an interest in their heritage value. To see this study, please click on the link- Heritage Horse Study .
In February 2002, the final report by the Heritage Working Party found that these horses had significant historical, military and cultural value. They are direct descendants of Australia's wartime cavalry horses, known as Walers, and are the only group of Australian wild horse to have this proven heritage value.
In 2003, as a result of the above findings, the GFHHA (formerly known as the Guy Fawkes Wild Horse Management Association Inc) was developed. The GFHHA maintain objectives of managing the horses from the GFRNP once they have removed. Not only do we take possession of horses passively removed from the GFRNP and offer them for sale to the public, we also manage the horses to maintain their inherent characteristics and to preserve the unique genetics of these wild horses. A formal register and Stud Book has been established for these purposes. The GFHHA also actively promotes the GF horse versatility by sponsoring classes held at local Ag Shows and encouraging horse owners to participate in all disciplines. The Association is self funded. Monies are raised through the sale of horses, donations and fundraising events.
It has taken over 10 years to progress this far with wild horse management. We have encountered many setbacks however we are finally making a difference and we are confident that our methods will set the standards for the future control of wild horses in Australia.