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Nonprofit: OBX Wild Horses Becoming More Endangered

Posted February 8, 2008

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— A group that monitors endangered species says that situation of the two wild horse herds on the Outer Banks is worsening.

The American Livestock Breed Conservancy, a Pittsboro-based nonprofit that promotes endangered livestock and poultry breeds, moved the Corolla and Shackleford herds from the threatened category into the critical category. The next category is extinction.

Approximately 110 horses roam the Shackleford Banks, and 89 horses inhabit the northern Outer Banks in Currituck County. Both herds are listed by the ALBC as Colonial Spanish Mustangs.

The federal Shackleford Act stipulates that herd should have a minimum of 100 horses to maintain genetic viability. The Currituck Wild Horse Management Plan calls for that herd to stay at a minimum of 60 horses.

Work by Dr. E. Gus Cothran, a leading equine geneticist and expert on feral horses, however, shows that the Currituck herd should also have at least 100 horses to maintain genetic diversity, the ALBC claims.

The Corolla Wild Horse Fund has gathered genetic samples from the horses for Cothran to determine the herd's baseline genetic health. North Carolina State University has agreed to draw up a concept paper to help the CWHF get funding for an ecological study of the land roamed by the horses.

The CWHF has also worked with the Horse of the Americas registry to breed Banker horses with other horses of the Colonial Spanish Mustang strain. The off-site breeding program's first foal will be born this spring at Mill Swamp Indian Horses in Smithfield, Va.

Successful off-site breeding would help the Banker strain survive a localized disaster, such disease, a natural disaster or genetic collapse, CWHF officials said.

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  • moreupset Feb 8, 2008

    There is a very simple solution to save these horses. Everyone who wants to do so, open up your pocket book and spend any amount you like but stop asking all tax payers to fullfill your wishes.

  • oceanchild71 Feb 8, 2008

    "Ok, so how the heck does an alien species become endangered? These are escaped domestic horses. NOT A NATIVE SPECIES. This is the kind of fringe behavior that gives species preservation a black eye." JayJay

    These horses are descendants of horses that were aboard Spanish Galleon ships back in the 1500's and 1600's. These ships would either wreck on the shoals or get caught up in hurricanes or nor'easters and would swim ashore if they did not drown. Some of these horses would be "domesticated" by local residents in years past, but genetically speaking, these are wild horses. They have an extra vertebrae that proves their lineage along with the DNA.

    The horses in the herds now are all wild. If they come up to humans at all it is only if they are enticed by food or they come up to attack idiots that get too close, especially to the foals.

  • GWALLY Feb 8, 2008

    ".....has agreed to draw up a concept paper to help the CWHF get funding for an ecological study of the land roamed by the horses."

    .....just follow the money, (it's all about the grant money) that's what this is ALL about !!!

  • ratherbnnc Feb 8, 2008

    Ok, so how the heck does an alien species become endangered? These are escaped domestic horses. NOT A NATIVE SPECIES. This is the kind of fringe behavior that gives species preservation a black eye.
    JayJay

    Escaped domestic horses? Where do you get your information from these days? Comic Strips.. Funny your not! These horses are not domestic raised i can assure you. I am originally from that area, and they have been around for as long as i can remember.

  • JayJay Feb 8, 2008

    Ok, so how the heck does an alien species become endangered? These are escaped domestic horses. NOT A NATIVE SPECIES. This is the kind of fringe behavior that gives species preservation a black eye.

  • PDMARTIN Feb 8, 2008

    Beautiful animals. Let's do what's necessary to keep these blood lines going. That is one of NC natural treasures.

  • ptahandatum Feb 8, 2008

    Absolutely lawpirate!

  • lawpirate is still around Feb 8, 2008

    Aren't these horses beautiful and amazing. We used to go to Shackelford Banks and it was always so cool if we got to see one. I've seen the ones in Corolla too. One was 'standing watch' while 4 others (including young ones) rested in the sand behind the dunes. How lucky are we to have this as part of our state? Save the wild horses.