Thursday, August 12, 2010

Hope Springs Eternal

Working for a small nonprofit is not something that anyone does if they want to become financially secure. The pay is low, the hours are long, and the frustration can often outweigh the satisfaction. Thankfully, it seems that just when you need it the most, something happens to remind you why you do what you do. Esperanza (Spanish for Hope) is reminding us of that every day that she grows bigger and stronger. Although we know that growing up wild and free is what would be best for her and what we would want - that is no longer possible for her. Our attempts to capture her mother were not successful and after three hours in extreme heat, snake infested habitat, and an extremely aggressive stallion, we knew that she was now our responsibility for the months to come. Without intervention, she would have died.

Through Esperanza, our spirits are rejuvenated and our resolve to always do what is best for the welfare of the wild horses is rewarded. We don’t do it for the money or for recognition. We do it solely in hopes that our efforts will ultimately result in a safe and healthy existence for the Colonial Spanish Mustangs that we are committed to protect. There is no glory in what we do – but thankfully - there is always Hope.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

H.R. 5482 – Our Only Hope

H.R. 5482, the Corolla Wild Horses Protection Act, was introduced on June 8th by Congressman Walter Jones. This bill is the only hope we have to return our wild horse herd to physical and genetic health. Why do we need legislation to accomplish this?

The Currituck Outer Banks Wild Horse Management Plan was put into place in 1997. The Corolla Wild Horse Fund requested a herd size of 100 and United States Fish & Wildlife Service (Department of Interior) requested zero. After prolonged and contentious debate, the herd size was set at a maximum of 60 – a number not based on any existing scientific data but merely a number upon which all parties were finally able to agree.

DNA testing completed in 1992 and again in 2008, by Dr Gus Cothran of Texas A&M, an internationally recognized equine geneticist and expert on wild herds, showed that the Corolla horses have less genetic diversity than any other group of horses and that the horses had now reached a “genetic bottleneck." In view of this current scientific data, the Fund requested a change to the management plan based on Dr. Cothran’s recommendation of a minimum population of 120 – 130. Our request was denied based on the USFWS’ position that a larger number could have a negative impact on the refuge.

It is important to note that the wild horses on Shackleford Banks (protected by the 1998 Shackleford Banks Act, also introduced by Congressman Jones) have been managed at 120 – 130 for the last 12 years on 3,000 acres with no documented impact. The Corolla horses have access to 7,544, 2,500 of which is USFWS property.

A hearing on the bill was held in Washington, DC on July 27th. Both Congressman Jones and Karen McCalpin testified. To watch the proceedings or read testimony, go to . Go the right side of the page, “Recent News,” click on Congressman Jones testimony or the story below to read Karen McCalpin’s testimony.
The entire proceeding can be viewed at:
To just watch Karen’s testimony skip to 40:26.

To express your support, please contact Congressman Jones at:
Congressman Walter Jones
2333 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington DC 20515
Phone: 202-225-3415
Fax: 202-225-3286

Or e mail from his website.