Wednesday, February 6, 2008

State of the Wild Horse Herd

Current State of the Herd
What Carova Beach blog would be complete without an update on the health and numbers of our famous mascots, the wild horses? Currituck County promotes them as our ambassadors on the Northern Outer Banks, but so often people inquiry as to how many horses they are and how they are doing physically. To find out, I emailed Karen McCalpin, executive director of the Corolla Wild Horse Fund. In her response she wrote:

There are currently 89 horses in the Corolla herd. We know from the horses that we bring off the beach for adoption (27 in the last year) that the wild herd has a very low parasite load and is in excellent health. The overall health of the mares that have been darted as part of the birth control program will be also be enhanced as a result. We have targeted the oldest and the youngest mares. Not having a foal every year will improve their health and longevity. DNA samples have been sent to Texas A&M where they are being analyzed by Dr. Gus Cothran, the leading equine geneticist in the country and an expert on wild horses. Dr. Cothran will be preparing a report on the current genetic health of the herd. The Currituck County Wild Horse Management Plan, originally written in 1999, calls for a maximum herd size of 60. This number was not based on science and is not a genetically viable number. The goal of the Corolla Wild Horse Fund is to maintain the herd at a number that will ensure their maximum physical and genetic health.

For more information on the herd you can go to the Corolla Wild Horse Fund website.