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Tragic, wild horse herd deaths from Dorian

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  • Tragic, wild horse herd deaths from Dorian

    Over half the horse herd dies during the overwash of their island during Dorian. I'm not sure but these horses may have been on this island for 500 years and that makes me think its Global warming that causes the overwash of their Island. At the least they had survived years of hurricanes but with water levels rising it looks like these island are no longer safe habitats.
    Frankly it seems like Island life is not safe for any form of life now but maybe the birds.
    Anyone have more information about this tragedy?

  • #2
    What island are we talking about here?


    • #3
      Originally posted by furlong47 View Post
      What island are we talking about here?
      I googled it - so helpful when there is a link or more info about a story... looks like it was about 1/2 of 1 herd (not total herd) and was a lesser known herd. As long as there are stud horses and mares among the remaining herd, I would assume some breeding will take place which will hopefully bring back the herd size. When one remembers the Ice Age and other climate events - certainly "global warming" is taking place and sadly I would imagine that over the past 500 years the wild pony herd has gone thru periods of increase and decrease in herd size due to weather and other conditions.


      • #4
        Oh, well, clearly you're not thoroughly indoctrinated to COTH yet, because finger pointing and drawing conclusions are the cornerstones of this great online community. (Tidy Rabbit)


        • #5
          Cedar Island, NC.


          • #6
            My first thought was that the OP meant Abaco; I remember reading a library book about the horses there. I think the horse in the title was Domingo, but it was 50 years ago and the full title escapes me. I was a kid in the Florida Keys and eventually had one of the few horses there, too. That book, along with Walter Farley's "The Horse that Swam Away" gave me hope that horses on an island were a possibility. We had to drive to Homestead or Miami for feed and hay and tack and supplies, but it was worth it!

            I did find an article about the Abaco horses; they did exist, but were believed to be extinct, probably about the time I read that book in the late 1960s. Then there was an effort to reestablish the herd with DNA and cloning, but funding was a problem. There may have been a few survivors after the last 'known' horse died, but if so, Dorian may have finished them off for good.

            So sad about the Cedar Island horses. One of the books in the Misty of Chincoteague series (hey, I read every horse book I could get my hands on as a child) portrayed how the Beebe family and their ponies got through a hurricane, stacking hay bales to try to keep them above the flood waters. It's too bad the Cedar Island herd didn't have such options. But, as gottagrey mentioned, hopefully there is enough breeding stock to reestablish their what end, we can only speculate. It's all so romantic to think of them running free there, but the danger of sea-level rise remains.


            • #7
              We “had” a fish camp on a marsh island there prior to Dorian. It was originally built in 1972. It survived 8 direct hits from hurricanes. This one came in a bit different and created a storm surge that came in pretty fast. To put it in perspective, the only vehicles that survived the storm on a neighboring island were the fire trucks. EVERY OTHER VEHICLE WAS SWAMPED BY STORM SURGE. Friends found some cabinets from our place 13 miles away. That is the only thing that has been found of our camp. The storm surge picked up a small cottage off its stilts and scattered its parts adrift.

              One of the issues after the storm was the fact that the surge contaminated all of the fresh water with salt.

              The area res also had a few herds of wild cows. It was so cool to see them swimming from island to island and grass. They were very large and had horns. I’m not up on cattle breeds, so no clue, but they were cool. I wonder how they made out.


              • Original Poster

                Thanks for the comments, the wild horses had survived long time on the Island a but though this was a small storm there is no escape from rising water.
                Selling the beach house........


                • #9
                  Originally posted by walkers60 View Post
                  Thanks for the comments, the wild horses had survived long time on the Island a but though this was a small storm there is no escape from rising water.
                  Selling the beach house........
                  OK given the rising water that will inundate the islands.. those ponies were not native to the islands, they need to be relocated .... Central Park in New York might be great place for a few years


                  • #10
                    Article said a "mini tsunami" was the cause of the deaths. Not much you can do about that.


                    • #11
                      Reading the article from Sea Witch post 6 it sounds like the lack of genetic diversity would either be terrible or a interesting project for a student to study.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by clanter View Post

                        OK given the rising water that will inundate the islands.. those ponies were not native to the islands, they need to be relocated .
                        They aren't - people love to refer to them as "wild horses," but they are feral ponies. I have seen the outer banks ponies - they really don't have a great life. They are wormy, undoubtedly inbred, & I've seen some horribly underweight with terrible feet. Barrier islands do not have "quality grazing" as an attribute, resources are scarce & space is scarcer. It's not the ponies' fault, I feel bad for them. They don't belong there, it wasn't their choice to get grandfathered in & now they are stuck there, trapped by some misplaced human fantasy of "wild horses on the beach." The best thing that could happen to them is to all be adopted out or moved inland (there are roaming feral herds in Grayson Highlands in VA who don't look like desperate rescues). Otherwise they will just continue drowning.

                        I loved Misty of Chincoteague too. But now I'm an adult & a wildlife biologist & I learned what really happens.

                        Life doesn't have perfect footing.

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