The American wild horse – native or feral? Does it matter? part one

Council for all wildlife

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By Sharon St Joan

Their manes flowing in the wind, wild horses represent the essence of the joy and freedom of the wild – a state of grace and innocence. In the early morning they amble single file towards a stream where they drink and splash in the water. Then they run and play along the hillsides, stopping here and there to munch the sage brush, happy under the wide sky. On the open lands of the western states, they can run all day until they stop to rest under the shade of rock cliffs or juniper trees.

During the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, the Spanish arrived in the Americas, bringing horses with them. When they sailed away, they left the horses behind. Over the next 500 years, the wild horse population grew until, by some estimates, it reached two million. By the 1950’s though, their population had plummeted; they…

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