Assateague Island's Wild Horse Population Grows Healthier
Posted: Apr 16, 2018 8:55 PM
By Nicole Edenedo
(BERLIN, Md.) - The wild horses of Assateague Island have a new addition to their herd after several losses over the past year.
A new foal born on the island earlier this month is helping to keep the wild horse population steady and healthy.
The foal now brings the total number of horses on the island to 83, according to the park's assistant public information officer.
"We were able to see it probably not even a day after it was born, and the mother along with the foal was with her band out on the road," said Kelly Taylor, who was working at the park's visitor center in Berlin Monday afternoon.
A recent population study from the National Park Service said the island hosts 21 stallions and 61 mares.
The population size is healthy despite the deaths of six horses this year, which island park officials said was partly due to old age.
"The horses that died over the winter were basically old, just really old. Our mares are living into their 30s, and that's pretty old for a wild animal. Our target management numbers for the horse is between 80-100 animals," Taylor said.
Even though the population size is in good standing, park officials want to remind visitors to keep their distance for their own safety and that of the horses.
"They are not seen by a veterinarian. We don't provide them with food, we do not provide them with water. They are left to graze on the island. And we really ask for people's help by not treating them like they're in a petting zoo," said Taylor.
To learn more about the Assateague Island horses during a visit, guests can always stop by the visitor's center to learn more information and tips on how to view the horses safely.