Horse News

Feel Good Sunday: Wild horses continue to roam Cumberland Island


Caption: About 125 to 175 wild horses reside on Georgia’s Cumberland Island, according to the National Park Service. Credit: Photo courtesy of National Park Service.

Georgia’s southernmost and largest barrier island claims Jekyll Island as its neighbor to the north and Amelia Island, Fla., to the south.  Unlike its neighbors, however, Cumberland is only accessible by ferry from St. Marys or by private boat.

The tranquil island is roughly 18 miles long and ranges from three-quarters to 2.5 miles wide, depending on the location.  Across the sound to the west lies U.S. Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, which houses Trident nuclear-powered submarines.

While submarines may roam the waters around Cumberland, wild horses roam the island.

Today, 125 to 175 horses reside there, said Jill Hamilton-Anderson, chief of interpretation, education and visitor services for Cumberland Island National Seashore, part of the National Park Service.  The horses keep to smaller groups, often staying within certain areas, such as the island’s south end.

The earliest account of horses on the island dates back 275 years to a battle over Fort St. Andrews in 1742.  When the Spanish entered the British colonial fort on the island’s north end, they found about 50 to 60 horses in a corral, according to the NPS.  However, while evidence is scarce, the NPS believes that horses were brought over in the late 1500s when the Spanish missions were established.

Read the rest of this article HERE.

3 replies »

  1. Odd the article doesn’t mention any contraception or removals over time, but some rough calculations show that the island is about 28,800 acres, and contains 175 horses, so that’s about one horse per quarter acre, or one horse in every 100 square feet on sandy soils, or four horses per acre, year-round, 24/7. Since the article mentions they concentrate in favorite areas, these numbers must be higher there.

    The photo provided (if from this island) shows healthy horses and vegetation — notice the trees and taller plants are not shorn — so something doesn’t stack up here, especially when on our Western public lands the BLM and USFS regularly insist a single horse needs thousands of acres to survive. Even accounting for the moisture differences, with similarly poor sandy soils this amount of variation is questionable. Interesting to consider that even in such a small and very limited area, nobody even knows for sure how many horses live there!


  2. Aren’t they beautiful. I’ve never visited this area, and with Florida being in the news lately, it reminded me how much I loved where I had visited. I may need to go back for a visit. I love islands.


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