Outer Banks wild horse safety video focuses on preventing deaths
One of North Carolina’s beloved wild mustangs was killed early Saturday in a freak accident involving a taut stabilizing wire attached to a power pole.
The Corolla Wild Horse Fund says the mare, which gave birth at the end of March, was found “tangled up in some wire” at 6 a.m. Saturday. It’s believed “the horses were chasing each other around” — possibly in the darkness — and the mare didn’t see the wire.
It’s the second death reported this summer among the herd of nearly 100 horses.
“It was clear that the mare had run head first into an unmarked guy-wire and died instantly,” said a post on the nonprofit’s Facebook page. “She has been respectfully buried in a secluded spot not far from where she died.”
The mare’s foal, named Rosie, “is old enough to survive without her mother’s milk,” the group said.
“She is grazing and drinking water, and the other mares in the harem are incredibly attentive and protective,” according to the Facebook post. “We will obviously be keeping a close eye on her and will intervene at the first sign of stress, but we would really like to give this girl a chance at carrying on her mother’s legacy in the wild.”
It’s been a tragic summer for the Corolla herd, which shares the beaches and dunes with off-road vehicles. In late June, a member of the herd named Cali had to be euthanized after X-rays showed the horse’s shoulder was broken and dislocated during a fight with another horse, the Charlotte Observer reported on June. 25.
Then, in the first week of July, a horse named Junior was struck by a vehicle on the beach. The horse survived, largely because the driver of the vehicle was going less than 10 mph, the Corolla Wild Horse Fund said.
“Wild horses live dangerous lives, and there will always be injuries and deaths due to natural causes,” herd manager Meg Puckett told The Charlotte Observer. “It’s a difficult part of the job but you take comfort in knowing the horse lived a truly wild life. What’s really heartbreaking is when it’s caused by something man-made, that could have been prevented.”
The latest death has inspired the agency to talk with the local power company about “having all of the power poles checked and markers put on any bare guy-wires,” according to the Facebook post.
“We learn from every single one of these incidents, and discover new and better ways to protect and manage the horses,” Puckett said.
On July 15, Puckett posted an update on Facebook noting the power company is taking action by putting a guard on the guy wire and will survey the area to see if more are needed on other wires.
“Rosie is doing fine. She’s been spotted with her family a couple times over the past two days, and has been seen eating and drinking,” Puckett added.