source: wild horses of Abaco facebook
From Milanne Rehor:
It is with the heaviest of hearts that we have to tell you, our faithful fans and followers, of Nunkis passing on July 23rd. Nunki was over 20 years old, which is quite remarkable for her. She passed peacefully and painlessly in the loving arms of her caretaker and friend of over 20 years Milanne Rehor (Mimi) and with friends Avener and Dr Bailey at her side. Her over stressed liver finally gave up. On this saddest of days as we all try to wrap our heads and our hearts around what has happened, I wanted to reflect on a few things and share them with all of you.
Let us remember that our goal and mission was for this breed and for Nunki…and that goal still remains the same…trying to preserve this breed for future generations and to make what has gone wrong right again. And even though Nunki is now gone that mission does NOT change. We will continue to work towards the return of the herd, and with Nunkis DNA that is still possible. So let us not forget why we ALL joined together, why we were friends to Mimi, the Team and most of all Nunki and her kind, because we all cared enough to want to make a difference, and our work is NOT done.
Let us all keep Mimi, Avener and Jean in our thoughts and prayers, because no one knew or loved Nunki more than they did. May Nunki rest in peace, I know she is kicking up her heels, whinnying to all those that have gone before her, with the wind whipping thru her mane. We look forward to continuing to work with all of you on her re-birth.
May God Bless Us All, and help us be successful on this incredible mission that we have ALL come together to accomplish.
Rest in Peace Sweet Nunki
Last wild horse dies on Bahamas’ Great Abaco Island
By DAVID McFADDEN Associated Press
The last of the wild horses on Great Abaco island in the Bahamas has died, prompting caretakers to collect tissue for possible cloning and hopefully bring back a viable population.
Milanne Rehor, project director for the Wild Horses of Abaco Preservation Society, said Tuesday that a U.S. veterinarian removed tissue from the dead mare and the material has just been shipped to an animal cloning technology company in Austin, Texas.
“We are sad at the loss. But we are also optimistic because we do have a crack at bringing the herd back,” said Rehor, a 71-year-old New York native who has spent over two decades trying to preserve the wild horses in the northern Bahamas.
Some 60 years ago, as many as 200 wild horses grazed and trotted freely through the scrubland and forests of Great Abaco, which was once logged for its pine trees.
The horses were imported from Cuba in the late 1800s by a logging company. When the company switched to tractors for pulling logs in the 1940s, the animals were set free and went feral.
The wild horses flourished for a time, then a young child died while trying to ride one of the horses after it had been tamed and townspeople killed all but three of the herd in the early 1960s, according to Rehor’s organization.
The herd rebounded to about 35 animals by the mid-1990s with the help of Rehor and other enthusiasts who secured a preserve for the horses in Abaco’s Treasure Cay. But the remaining horses were sickened by poisonous plants, pesticides and herbicides and were unable to reproduce. The last one, a roughly 20-year-old mare called Nunki, died in recent days.
Rehor, who lives on a boat moored in Abaco, said she lost a “wonderful companion.” She hopes Nunki’s cells can be reproduced and one day a foal can be bred with DNA from a living stallion.
Ernest Cothran, a clinical professor at Texas A&M University’s Department of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences who has studied Abaco’s wild horses, said he would be surprised if the cloning plan succeeds. “I would not say it is impossible, however,” he said.