Rehoming opportunities in 2021
Following a short break over the 2020 Christmas holidays, National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) has recommenced the Kosciuszko National Park post-bushfire wild horse control program for 2021. So, if you have ever considered taking home a Kosciuszko wild horse, there will continue to be opportunities throughout 2021.
Together with the community, NPWS has now rehomed over 1000 horses from Kosciuszko National Park since 2002. So far during the post-bushfire control program, 95% of horses removed from the park have been rehomed.
With your help, we can rehome more.
Rehoming is an important commitment
NPWS is seeking good, long-term homes for wild horses removed from the park.
Before applying to NPWS, please take the time to consider whether you have the necessary skills, facilities and resources (both money and time) to adequately care for and train a wild horse. These animals have received no training, handling or veterinary care and are unfamiliar with the human-built environment.
If you are new to rehoming wild horses, there is help available. Before you complete your application, talk to the NPWS wild horse team or consider contacting one of the many experienced rehoming individuals and organisations listed on our website.
Post-bushfire control program
A survey conducted in October 2020 found an estimated 14,000 wild horses remain in Kosciuszko National Park, despite recent periods of severe drought and extreme bushfires. The survey results reinforce the need to continue to manage horse numbers, especially in the most sensitive areas of the park affected by the bushfires.
Wild horses are being removed using passive trapping, with a focus on the Nungar, Cooleman and Kiandra areas. Rehoming remains the priority for all horses. However, where homes are unable to be identified, horses will be sent to a knackery.
Currently, we have 22 approved rehomers – but more are needed.
Rehoming Snapshot – to 30 December 2020
- Program dates: 23 July to 15 December 2020
- Number of trapping days: 37
- Horses removed: 343
- Horses rehomed: 325
- Horses sent to knackery: 14
- Total trapping-related deaths: 4
- Horses released: 169
- The control program temporarily ceased over the Christmas period. It will continue in 2021.
- Horses are released if they do not meet NPWS current criteria for removal due to transport limitations and includes heavily pregnant mares and mares with young foals
- 1 mare and 2 colts died in separate incidents while being held in the trap yards due to suspected head or neck injuries.1 mare died in the NPWS temporary holding yards due to a suspected head injury. No other horses were injured. Horse deaths in trap yards are a rare occurrence in the history of the trapping and removal program.
Animal welfare remains our priority
Whether it is in assessing potential rehomers or in managing the removal of wild horses from the park, animal welfare is the first and greatest priority of the NPWS.
NPWS continues to engage with the RSPCA and work closely with the Kosciuszko Wild Horse Scientific Advisory Panel (SAP) to ensure the highest possible animal welfare outcomes during control operations. The SAP includes members with expertise in animal welfare, veterinary science and pest animal management.
Wild horses can foal at any time of the year. Heavily pregnant mares and mares with young foals are currently released from the trap yards back into the park.
A control program involving passive trapping and removal of wild horses from Kosciuszko National Park has been undertaken annually since 2002 (except for 2018 when control did not occur). Given the longevity of the program, NPWS staff have developed extensive experience in managing wild horses.
Except for injured or ill horses, the current control program does not involve shooting horses or other forms of euthanasia within traps or the park.
How to apply
Full details of the rehoming program, including the rehoming guidelines and application form, continue to be available on the website. Interested individuals and groups will need to meet the guidelines and complete the application form to help ensure wild horses find good homes.
You need to take a minimum of five horses if you would like to apply for horses from NPWS. However, for those people that would like to take home a smaller number, please contact the approved rehomers listed on our website. Let them know you are interested in rehoming a horse and find out what they have available.