Friday, May 15, 2009
100 Reasons to NOT Touch or Feed Our Wild Horses
Our current herd count is 100. That is about 30 short of the minimum we need to maintain the genetic diversity and physical health of the wild horses. It is about to get smaller.
Last night I got several calls regarding a stallion that was lying on a sand road in Carova (the northernmost development on the north beach). He had been in the area grazing all day but had been lying on Ocean Pearl Road for about an hour. The initial caller wasn’t too concerned at first because the horses lie down in the sand and rest all the time. What caused him the most concern was watching a woman walk right up to the stallion, scratch him on the forehead, and the stallion made no attempt to get up or show signs that he didn’t welcome the attention. That is not normal behavior for a wild animal. That is what convinced him that something was wrong with the horse.
Long story short – the stallion was not sick or injured - but he is going to have to be captured and removed from the beach anyway. Why? Because he clearly has no fear of humans. He has no fear of humans because it is most likely that he has been approached and or fed so many times that he accepts, and perhaps now looks for, attention from humans. Now this horse has become a danger to humans. If he isn’t already, he will now approach humans and demand to be fed. In 2006 we removed another young stallion because he approached a resident out for a walk, demanded to be fed, and knocked the woman down because she had nothing to give him. Luckily she was only severely bruised. Now he is a gelding awaiting adoption and can never return to the beach that was his home.
Last year we found a young mare dead by a canal. Necropsy results identified alfa toxin poisoning as the cause of death. The horse apparently ate moldy hay that some well meaning but misguided person put out for the horses.
We have only 100 horses. We cannot afford to lose a single horse from the already dwindling gene pool. IT IS AGAINST THE LAW IN CURRITUCK COUNTY TO APPROACH, PET, OR FEED A WILD HORSE. There are 100 good reasons for this.
The horses have a specialized diet that has kept them healthy for nearly five centuries. Our volunteers have found apples, carrots, celery, spinach and lettuce that is being left out or fed directly to wild horses. The other consequence of feeding is painful colic or death but that is another topic in itself.
The link to the Wild Horse Ordinance is on our home page. Spread the word. Save our wild horses. Respect the Wild Horse Ordinance.