from the pages of HorseTalk.com
While BLM Decimates Wild Horse Herds in the West, Congress Saves Herd in the East
A bill allowing the expansion of the wild horse herd that inhabits North Carolina’s Outer Banks has unanimously passed the US House of Representatives.
The bill, introduced by Republican North Carolina Representative Walter Jones, now heads to the Senate.
The bill would increase the legislated herd size from 60 to 130, after genetic specialists said a herd of at least 110 was needed to maintain genetic diversity.
The horses can be traced back to the arrival of Spanish explorers in the 16th century.
For over four centuries, they have survived in the wild and currently roam across 7500 acres of public and private land in coastal Currituck County, North Carolina.
Under the existing management agreement between the Interior Department, the State of North Carolina, Currituck County and the non-profit Corolla Wild Horse Fund, the maximum number of horses allowed in the herd is 60.
However, leading equine genetic scientists believed inbreeding and low genetic diversity were a risk with such low numbers.
The new bill would require the parties to craft a new management plan allowing a herd of no fewer than 110 horses, with a target number of 120 to 130.
“These horses are very important to the people of North Carolina,” Jones said. “North Carolina has designated the Colonial Spanish Mustang as our State Horse and we must make sure they survive for future generations to enjoy.”