Save the wild horses of Corolla from genetic collapse

On April 16,th 2008, the Corolla Wild Horse Fund formally requested that the Currituck Outer Banks Wild Horse Management Plan be changed from a maximum of 60 horses to a minimum of 110. The request was made in relation to a recent genetic study that indicated high levels of inbreeding, low genetic diversity, and irreparable genetic harm at a herd size of 90. The request was denied by USFWS and NC Estuarine Research Reserve. An aerial count was conducted on September 8th by Steve Rogers, CWHF Herd Manager, and Mike Hoff (USFWS). 101 horses were counted. Only 22 horses were found to be on the total acreage of the wildlife refuge (2,033 wetlands; 778 woodlands; 874 brush; 418 beach). 74.2% of the horses were found on private land. There were 4 horses in the 441 acre NCERR. Census counts were 119 in 2006 and 94 in 2007. Until the maximum herd number in the management plan is changed, CWHF is mandated to comply with the management plan and the herd has been reduced by 41 horses between September 2006 and today. CWHF has also initiated a darted birth control program in compliance with the management plan. There is another herd of registered Colonial Spanish Mustangs that are genetically similar to the Corolla herd on Cape Lookout National Seashore (Shackleford Banks). That herd roams 3,000 acres and is managed at a genetically healthy 120 – 130. These horses are protected by the Shackleford Banks Act, written by US Congressman Walter Jones. According to the management plan, the Corolla herd roams 12,000 acres but is to be managed at the genetically unsupportable number of 60. Don’t the Corolla horses deserve to be managed at the same genetically and physically healthy level as the Shackleford horses We are not asking for any number higher than the number it takes to maintain the herd in a manner that will ensure their survival. Keeping them at sixty ensures the opposite. We are now requesting support to change the number to 120 Petitions and letters of support will be sent to: Congressman Walter B. Jones http://jones.house.gov/contact_form_email.cfm 2333 Rayburn House Office Building Washington, DC 20515 Senator Richard Burr http://burr.senate.gov/public/index.cfmFuseAction=Contact.Home 217 Russell Senate Office Building Washington, DC 20510 Senator Elizabeth Dole http://dole.senate.gov/public/index.cfmFuseAction=ContactInformation.ContactForm 555 Dirksen Senate Office Building Washington, DC 20510 Senator Marc Basnight Marcb@ncleg.net 16 West Jones Street, Room 2007 Raleigh, NC 27601-2808 Representative Bill Owens Billo@ncleg.net 300 N. Salisbury Street Room 635 Raleigh, NC 27603 - 5925

Sponsor

The Corolla Wild Horse Fund is a registered 501 c 3 not-for-profit located in Corolla, NC. The mission of the Corolla Wild Horse Fund is to protect, preserve, and responsibly manage the herd of wild Colonial Spanish Mustangs roaming freely on the northernmost Currituck Outer Banks, and to promote the continued preservation of this land as a permanent sanctuary for horses defined as a cultural treasure by the state of North Carolina. http://www.corollawildhorses.com

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