Help Wild Horses (NC)

By KAREN H. McCALPIN | Corolla Wild Horse Fund | 15 Sept 2008

On April 16th I formally requested that the Currituck Outer Banks Wild Horse Management Plan be changed from a maximum of 60 horses to a minimum of 110. The request was made in relation to a recent genetic study that indicated high levels of inbreeding, low genetic diversity, and irreparable genetic harm at a herd size of 90. The request was denied by USFWS and NC Estuarine Research Reserve.

An aerial count was conducted on September 8th by Steve Rogers and Mike Hoff (USFWS). 101 horses were counted. Only 22 horses were found to be on the total acreage of the wildlife refuge (2,033 wetlands; 778 woodlands; 874 brush; 418 beach). 74.2% of the horses were found on private land. There were 4 horses in the 441 acre NCERR. Census counts were 119 in 2006 and 94 in 2007.

Until the maximum herd number in the management plan is changed, CWHF is mandated to comply with the management plan and the herd has been reduced by 41 horses between September 2006 and today. CWHF has also initiated a darted birth control program in compliance with the management plan.

There is another herd of registered Colonial Spanish Mustangs that are genetically similar to the Corolla herd on Cape Lookout National Seashore (Shackleford Banks). That herd roams 3,000 acres and is managed at a genetically healthy 120 – 130. These horses are protected by the Shackleford Banks Act, written by US Congressman Walter Jones. According to the management plan, the Corolla herd roams 12,000 acres but is to be managed at the genetically unsupportable number of 60.

Don’t the Corolla horses deserve to be managed at the same genetically and physically healthy level as the Shackleford horses? We are not asking for any number higher than the number it takes to maintain the herd in a manner that will ensure their survival. Keeping them at sixty ensures the opposite.

Please join us on October 11th and give the horses a voice. A large turnout is essential and this is the most critical issue that has faced the horses since they were moved to the north beaches.

Please share this email with everyone you know. If you are unable to open the attachment, please contact me and we will mail one to you. We will also be circulating a petition and hope to have one on our website as well.

Karen H. McCalpin
Executive Director
Corolla Wild Horse Fund
P.O. Box 361
1126 Schoolhouse Lane
Corolla, NC 27927

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