Bill to expand wild mustang herd clears U.S. House

By on February 7, 2012

Wild horses on the beach above Corolla. (Pat Morris)

A bill that would allow an expansion of the Corolla wild horse population has been passed unanimously by the U.S. House of Representatives.

The measure, sponsored by Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C., would allow the allowable herd size to grow from 60 to between 110 and 130. The bill now goes to the U.S. Senate for consideration.

“The Corolla horses are a key part of North Carolina’s heritage. They’re also an important element of the Outer Banks economy,” said Jones.

According to Corolla Wild Horse Fund director Karen McCalpin, the most recent count had 144 horses roaming the Currituck Outer Banks.

“The passage of this bill by the House is a critical step in ensuring the genetic viability and physical health of the wild horses,” McCalpin said.

“They are listed as critically endangered. We hope that the strong bipartisan support for saving these horses will move the Senate to do the right thing for them as well”, McCalpin said.

The wild horse population is managed under an agreement between the U.S. Department of the Interior, the State of North Carolina, Currituck County, and the non-profit Corolla Wild Horse Fund.

The bill, H.R. 306, specifies the Wild Horse Fund will pay for all costs of the plan.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which manages Currituck National Wildlife Refuge and is part of the horses habitat, has expressed concern over expanding the herd and its impact on the refuge.

“There is an on-going research study of the effects of horses, hogs, and deer on wetland meadows on and adjacent to the Currituck National Wildlife Refuge,” said Mike Bryant, Project Leader for the North Carolina Coastal Plain Refuges Complex. “The study is scheduled to conclude in August.”

The horses are descendants of the Colonial Spanish Mustangs, which is designated as the official state horse of North Carolina.

“These majestic horses have played an important role in North Carolina’s history, and it is vital they continue to flourish for years to come,” said Nancy Perry, senior vice president of American Society of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Government Relations.

“The House recognizes the importance of protecting these equine icons of the Outer Banks, and hopefully the Senate will do the same,” Perry said.


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January 18, 2013 3:01 pm

Amen, glad to see the government do this. For all of those against it, sorry, most of the horses are probably better representatives of living things than you. I do have one piece of advice for those against the horses: LEAVE the islands, we don’t want you. You are like slugs, too low to kick, to wet to step on.


February 9, 2012 3:19 pm

When it comes to the mustangs, the FWS will kill every thing to protect them, Like NPS did to the racoons an foxes at OI to protect the PLOVER.

yea right

February 9, 2012 11:52 am

Let’s get this right

1 there not corolla horses they have not been in corolla for years

2 wild horses, not really they get trips from the vet to check on them

3 how many of these horses mixed with the other horses in Carova!

They already get so much money from other means ,why do we have to take our lawmakers time to do this?

And why don’t they do anything for the other (wild) horses on the coast? Shackaford ponies <I guess they don't need a bill.

Comes down to out of state dollars!!!!
And a permit charge to drive up here would be good for everyone 100 bucks a year for n.c. 200 for all else and if you live in Fruitville make it Free!!!


February 8, 2012 7:27 pm

they are all horses behinds to put it nicely


February 8, 2012 1:05 pm

Good question Tom. Not a word out of house or senate about the PEOPLE of Hatteras Island and their heritage. Guess they can get reelected by the horses.


February 8, 2012 10:59 am

So where was this guy when the environmentalist were going after the people of Hatteras island?

Selena K

February 8, 2012 8:01 am

For many, there WILL eventually be a fee–in the form of a toll booth.


February 8, 2012 8:00 am

so the life of a horse is more valuable than the life of a human. way to go government, way to show us what YOU deem is worthy to live.

John T

February 8, 2012 4:32 am

You’re probably right Kathy.There’s been discussions about permits and restrictions in the past.The new permit from the NPS will put more traffic on the northern beaches.

It’s coming,just give it time……


February 7, 2012 4:09 pm

Just wait pretty soon you will have to have a special expensive permit or pass to drive on the beach to see them too!

Jackie Harris

February 7, 2012 4:08 pm

Watch out there will probably be a user charge to view the Wild Horse’s !!, They will have to hire someone to monitor the viewing’s, Thank G that PETA hasn’t jumped in yet!

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