The Corolla Wild Horse Fund is celebrating the birth of the fifth foal of 2018. A healthy filly was born in Swan Beach on the morning of Aug. 22. The new baby is the half-sister of Castano, a colt born on Mother’s Day of this year.
The herd of about 100 Colonial Spanish mustangs on the Currituck Outer Banks is one of only two groups of this highly threatened breed left in the wild. Commonly referred to as Banker horses, they were brought to the barrier islands by Spanish explorers in the 16th century.
The horses now roam freely on approximately 7,500 acres of habitat north of the paved section of NC Route 12, and are responsibly and humanely managed by the CWHF.
The Corolla Wild Horse Fund employs a darted immuno-contraception program using the FDA approved substance PZP (porcine zona pelucida). It is conducted under the auspices of the Humane Society of the United States and the Science and Conservation Center in Billings, Montana. PZP is administered annually and is the least invasive method of delivery and the most humane method to control population. Mares that are younger than 4 or older than 15, or mares that have had at least one foal, are darted annually in an effort to reduce inbreeding, improve the long-term health of the mares, and maintain a sustainable population of horses.
Castano, which means “brown” in Spanish, was born in May, followed by a filly named Valor at the beginning of June, and a yet-unnamed filly also born in June. Another colt, Chris, was born in June, but he had to be removed from the wild after sustaining fatal injuries caused by an aggressive stallion.
The Fund usually sees around six births per year, but is looking forward to a larger crop of foals in 2018-2019 to offset an ageing population and the deaths and removals of several horses.
The herd is maintained at between 110-120 individuals.