There are currently only 115 wild horses in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, and the herd already shows signs of inbreeding. Still, unlike other wild horses, this herd has no federal protection, and the Bureau of Land Management has decided to clear out half of the herd to make room for development. Ruling that the horses are “non-native feral pests” in spite of scientific findings exposing that these horses are indeed indigenous to North America, the BLM insists on removing at least 60 horses from the wild through their ill-disposed adoption program (some 34,000 burros and horses endure sub-par living conditions in BLM adoption facilities for unreasonably lengthy periods of time), and through “contraception programs” with the remaining horses.
The horses will be removed, because they are a nuisance to the development going on in the area, which is ironic, because there are only 150 people who live in the Outer Banks year round—a population that pales in comparison to 1300-plus homes already in the area, as the expansion of Highway 12 continues to bring homes and other development with it.
There is a good article about the situation at animals.change.org
“in spite of scientific findings exposing that these horses are indeed indigenous to North America”
can you cite the science?
because the original article does not even try to make this assertion (that these particular horses are native to N. America).
coastal development is a serious issue and it does NOT help the campaigns to stop it by making unsupported claims about resident species.
let me be clear – i’m against the development and i’m even for letting these horses remain as part of an ecosystem that they’ve been a part of for over 500 years.
That being said, I’m also against activists being intellectually lazy and making unsupported claims.
Moderator’s response: Hi there. If you’ll read the comments to the article that I sited, two of them are in reference to the native nature of the horse. One reads, “they were once a native species. They became extinct in their present form (Equus caballus/Equus lambei) on the North American continent around 12,000 years ago. It could be feasible that, during that time period, the ecosystem changed in a way that their reintroduction would cause damage, however, I don’t think there’s actually that much proof of it.”
i don’t reckon you read all the comments that you pointed out for me to read.
one of the comments includes the following link
which is semi-scientific publication chock full of references to scientific studies looking at the effects of these FERAL European horses on the ecosystems of the West.
quoting a comment board on another site does not constitute a scientific reference.
so in reality, there really aren’t any scientific studies pointing to the indigenous nature of these feral horses – because they are not indigenous. They, are in fact, a non-native species with potential to be invasive and destructive. (kinda like us, i reckon)
i realize that this is splitting split ends on hairs that have already been split, but if you are going to say that there is science to back up an assertion, that science should be available (i.e. linked) for those of us who enjoy looking at the evidence.
yours for integrity and evidence to back up our environmental agenda.
Moderator’s response: I agree with your desire to fact check, but the reference made to what is, by your own admission, a “semi-scientific” publication does not do much to persuade me in the direction of your argument. I suggest you read the following:
“The Surprising History of America’s Wild Horses,” By Jay F. Kirkpatrick and Patricia M. Fazio, from Natural History Magazine. http://www.livescience.com/animals/080724-nhm-wild-horses.html
The report not only provides all the scientific data you’ll ever need to prove that wild horses are native to North America, but goes on to state, “The wild horse in the United States is generally labeled non-native by most federal and state agencies dealing with wildlife management, whose legal mandate is usually to protect native wildlife and prevent non-native species from having ecologically harmful effects. But the two key elements for defining an animal as a native species are where it originated and whether or not it coevolved with its habitat. E. caballus can lay claim to doing both in North America. So a good argument can be made that it, too, should enjoy protection as a form of native wildlife.”
It would appear at this point that we find ourselves in an argument about wild nature. Perhaps palavers about whether we can theoretically consider wild horses native to North America should wait until after we have protected these 60 beings from being tortured in the name of vacation homes (and not, mind you, in the name of native habitat)…
thanks for that link – that is exactly the kind of supporting evidence that i was hoping to get.