This has been a devastating year for the American wild horse. In the west, as if the cruel helicopter roundups, confinement of nearly forty seven thousand wild horses in government holding pens, and their sale to kill buyers for slaughter in Canada and Mexico is not horrific enough, other insidious ways to rid the land of wild horses and the advocates trying to save them are beginning to surface.
In the east, advocates for the wild horses north of Corolla, NC have been working with federal legislators to pass the Corolla Wild Horses Protection Act. The Act mandates that the herd be managed at a range of 120 – 130 with never less than 110 and that mares from Shackleford Banks can be introduced periodically to address the Corolla’s dying gene pool. Similar legislation was passed in 1998 to protect the Shackleford horses that live on half the habitat available to the Corollas.
Presently, an expired management plan calls for a maximum herd size of 60 and United States Fish & Wildlife Service has refused to allow the number to change. Two thirds of the land available to the wild horses of Corolla is privately owned and the other one third is owned by USFWS. This year’s aerial count showed 121 horses on 7,544 acres with only 8 horses on USFWS land. The current herd size is 119.
The Corolla Wild Horses Protection Act, sponsored by Congressman Walter Jones (R), passed the United States House of Representatives unanimously, on February 6, 2012. It was introduced into the Senate by NC Senator Kay Hagan (D) and co-sponsored by NC Senator Richard Burr (R) in March and referred to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee where it has remained ever since.
Time is running out for the bill (S 3448) and for the Corolla wild horses. It will not take helicopter roundups, sales to kill buyers, or poisoned water to kill them. Without the ability to be managed at a genetically and physically healthy level, nature – in the form of genetic collapse and physical abnormalities due to inbreeding – will do the trick within a few generations. Once they are gone – they are gone forever.
You can help to save them. Please e mail Senator Barbara Boxer, Chairperson of the Environment and Public Works Committee:https://boxer.senate.gov/en/contact/policycomments.cfm and Senator James Inhofe: http://inhofe.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Contact.ContactForm .
Tell them that you strongly support S 3448 and you want to see it passed before the end of this year. Tell them that these horses have coexisted with all other wildlife for nearly 500 years and have had no unacceptable impact on the environment. The Shackleford horses have been managed at the same number as defined in S 3448 for 14 years, on half the land available to the Corollas, with no unacceptable impact.
Only the voting public can stop the eradication of wild horses from our country.