A peaceful coexistence between wild horses and Australian wildlife
Mass shootings of wild horses – brumbies, as they are called in Australia – from the air! Men in helicopters gunning down entire herds of fleeing horses. The din of rotors. Shots ringing out. Animals panicking. Many collapsing, struck by bullets. Death does not always come immediately.
This barbaric practice was not only tolerated by the Australian government in the 1980s but organised by it. The excuse? Horses weren’t indigenous.
The driving force behind these massacres was the cattle industry, which had zeroed in on the horses’ grazing lands – never mind that cattle and sheep in Australia are about as indigenous as the horses.
The Franz Weber Territory (also called Bonrook Station) is located a 2.5-hour drive south of Darwin in the Australian state of Northern Territory (NT).
Fondation Franz Weber acquired the former cattle ranch in November 1989 and converted it into a wild horse sanctuary.
The Franz Weber Territory covers 500 km2 (18 km x 28 km).
Bonrook, outside the small town of Pine Creek, is a paradise for Australian wild horses (brumbies) and retired riding horses.
Around 800 brumbies live on Bonrook – protected and safe.
Each mob consists usually of about 6 to 12 horses and is managed by an alpha stallion.
Sam Forwood has been Bonrook's Station Manager since 1996 and takes care of everything.
Around 150 bird species and ...
... numerous native animal species live in harmony with the brumbies on the Franz Weber Territory.
Also about 120 water buffaloes live on the Franz Weber Territory.
Bonrook (like all lands in the Northern Territory) is inspected every three years by a government agency. The condition and quality of the meadows, grasses and soil are evaluated.
Fondation Franz Weber's goal is to prevent any further shootings of brumbies in Australia.
The spectacular nest of a Great Bowerbird on Bonrook, built with much love and skill.
A young stallion on Bonrook.
In 1987 and 1988, Fondation Franz Weber (FFW) brought the brumby bloodbath to public attention in Europe. The international outcry put an end to the culls.
Following this crisis, in November 1989, FFW purchased Bonrook Station, a vast former cattle ranch in the Northern Territory, Australia. And so, the Franz Weber Territory was born: a protected natural paradise spanning 500 square kilometres of tropical bushland. This property of Fondation Franz Weber is to date the only sanctuary for Australia’s wild horses. It also serves as a sanctuary for countless rare native species.
We know from our own experience that horses in Australia pose no threat to local flora or fauna. Preservation and maintenance of this absolutely unique example of animal welfare in Australia are among the most fascinating tasks of FFW.
Continued care and maintenance of the Franz Weber Territory
Protection and free development of brumbies in our sanctuary
Simultaneous protection of Australian flora and fauna