Horse News

Bill to Increase Corolla Wild Horse Herd Passed by House

from the pages of

While BLM Decimates Wild Horse Herds in the West, Congress Saves Herd in the East

Photo courtesy of the Corolla Wild Horse Fund

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.”

Wild horses in the news

25 replies »

  1. Bravo Outer Banks , Love the way they take care of their Wild Ones …………Three Cheers for the caretakers of the Corolla Wild Horses……..


    • Beware of the action.

      Why is DOI still involved? Why were these wild equines required to have a “bill”?

      Eastern wild equines are a real strange game compared to the West….the governments and humans, NOT the equines.


      • Sorry Denise I am not familiar with the why for???? But I know the State has everything to do with their Wild Ones , I have been their several times they are highly guarded , and protected where they reside … They come to the beach there all the time… They play in the Ocean also……..I will try to find out more info……..


  2. Good for North Carolina, Why can’t Feinstein,Boxer and Woolsey care about our mustangs. They vote for more money for roundups. Many of our mustangs will end up at slaughter plants in Mexico and Canada.


  3. North Carolinians would have been wiser to strip DOI “anything” from their prized wild equines.

    This is a good news ,bad news moment.

    Anyone know WHY this bill was necessary in the first freaking place? And DOI is still involved?


  4. The wild horses of Corolla roam 7,544 acres of private and public land. Three thousand acres is owned by United States Fish and Wildlife, a bureau of the DOI. The nonprofit Corolla Wild Horse Fund manages the herd and has been trying to change the maximum allowed herd size of 60 since DNA science was collected in 2008. All good faith efforts were rejected by USFWS. That left legislation as the only other avenue to ensure the long-term health and viability of the herd. The wild horses of Corolla are registered Colonial Spanish Mustangs and in May of 2010 became the North Carolina State Horse. Our small organization has been doing eveything in our power to save these horses. They have lived on the Outer Banks for centuries and we are so grateful to get this legislation passed and must now renew our efforts in order to get it through the Senate.


    • Thank you.

      As to the complications that involve DOI, please explain the nature of the need for this legislation (and yes, the House of Lords will reject it)?

      But I respect your efforts. Can you imagine what we are dealing with in the West?


      • When the horses were moved to their current location in 1997, a “management plan” was created by USFWS (3,000 acres than aerial counts have shown the maximum number of horses on their property to be 35), Currituck County, the NC National Estuarine Research Reserve (331 acres that is rarely used by the horses) and the Corolla Wild Horse Fund. At that time the Fund asked for 100 horses and the USFWS said 0. It was not until late 2006 when the Fund was able to hire fulltime staff, that any actual herd management occured. We have been working since then to change the management plan. Since USFWS would not change the number from 60 to the reccommended minimum range of 120 – 130, that is why we turned to legislation to MANDATE the change.


      • cwhfdirector:

        I am pleased you have obtained the protection for those wild equines. I am still concerned about the DOI connection, but understand the limitations of the “process”.

        Agreed, the Senate/House of Lords are the final say so and yet, like watching a slow train wreck.

        I am amazed that your state found a way to change DOI policy.


  5. These horses have been a boom to the local economy as tourists come year after year and sometimes multiple times during the same year to view the horses. There is competition between local tourism companies (tour buses, kayaks, etc.) to see how many people can be licensed to bring tourists to the area where the horses live.

    They were on the cover of Our State, Down Home in North Carolina, May 11, 2012, “Protecting our Wild Horses, A cowboy in Corolla defends the herd, Michael Graff, “Where The Road Ends” (106-121).


  6. Good for them! Considering the importance of Mustangs, by the people of North Carolina, this would be a great state for the Million Horse March – Children’s Letter Writing Campaign. (-:


  7. This is FINALLY some good news for some wild horses.
    Susan and I were not heard when we called in the CA RAC meeting yesterday. Some advocates were there and did a great job of speaking up for wild horses in the few minutes they were allowed. It was dominated by the BLM IMO.


  8. It is very hard for me to read about all of this, knowing how hard everyone out in the West works but the door seems to get slammed every time. What needs to happen to our government hear and see how cruel they have become. Perhaps Mr. Salzar needs to tour a slaughter house, needs to go to the auctions and follow the horses all the way. Is it possible he is totally deaf, dumb and blind to the wild horses??? Or is he the essence of pure evil?? There must be someone who can turn him around, or turn him off. I am extremely jealous of the people of North Carolina. Perhaps they could send some people, some info our way. :-[


    • Salazar is the essence of pure evil. He needs to get the boot. Just look at the new BLM Board of Advisors–one is an actual wild horse hater.


      • Dear Barbara, They are stacking the deck against the horses they are very cunning and have there eyes fixated on pure evil and greed , and Salazar is the head of it all, he does need to be thrown out…………….What ever happened to the letters we all sent to oust and impeach him and his evil ??????????????????????????????????????


  9. Beware of the USFWS/DOI in the East also! The USFWS at the Chincoteague Refuge in Virginia wants to “down-size” the number of the Chincoteague ponies and control beach access by shuttle bus for the people population which would devastate the local tourism. Interesting that the ponies, owned by the local fire company, are allowed access by permit only from the USFWS.


  10. Glad to hear the success story to these NC Wild Horses.
    I’ve been concerned about our WEST Mustangs, that the herds are too small after ROUND UPS, and leading to in-breeding.


    • The bill has been referred to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. I am traveling to Washington tomorrow to meet with Senator Hagan’s and Senator Burr’s Legaislative Directors. We need to get the bill moving again!


      • Dear cwhdirector Bravo to you and North Carolina, wish the Wild Mustangs in the west would also be safe and increased……..


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