Feral Coastal Ponies Weather Irene

Hurricane Irene wreaked havoc along North Carolina's Outer Banks on Aug. 27 causing flooding, damaging homes and infrastructure, and downing trees and power lines before moving northward along the Atlantic coast. But the feral horses residing on Carrituck Outer Banks off the North Carolina's coast took Irene's visit in stride, said Karen McCalpin, executive director of The Corolla Wild Horse Fund (CWHF).

Corolla Ponies After Irene

The Corolla Wild Horses handled the hurricane well.

More than 100 feral horses in the Corolla herd reside on a 7,500-acre sanctuary in the refuge located on the northern tip of North Carolina's Outer Banks. The refuge is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the CWHF manages the horses.

"We were out on Sunday counting tails and noses and the horses have all been accounted for," McCalpin said. "They are all in places where we expected to see them."

No one from the Foundation for Shackleford Horses Inc. was available to comment on how the 100-feral horse herd residing on the Shackleford Banks off North Carolina's coast fared in the storm. However, in a statement posted on the Foundation's website, foundation President Carolyn Mason said she was confident the horses would weather the storm well.

"I have lots of confidence in those herd lead-mares...they are smart old cookies," Mason's statement said. "We'll be on the island 'counting noses' to account for horses, as soon as we are able to get to Shackleford after the storm."

Meanwhile, Carl Zimmerman, spokesman for the Assateague Island National Seashore said feral horses residing there most likely weathered the storm just fine, too.

Assateague Island National Seashore is home to feral horses split into two main herds, one on the Virginia side and one on the Maryland side of Assateague.

Zimmerman said the animals are managed as wildlife and are accustomed to contending with the elements.

"It was probably not a pleasant 24 hours for them, but they've made their way through storms like Irene for centuries," Zimmerman said. "We have no reason to believe they are not just fine."

About the Author

Pat Raia

Pat Raia is a veteran journalist who enjoys covering equine welfare, industry, and news. In her spare time, she enjoys riding her Tennessee Walking Horse, Sonny.

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