“Dove has arrived!” So reads a recent news release from the Corolla Wild Horse Fund, which is committed to preserving the “Bankers,” rare Colonial Spanish Mustangs that roam freely on North Carolina’s northernmost Currituck Outer Banks.
First foal of 2023
A new Banker filly, Dove is the first foal of the 2023 season for this feral herd, which is believed to descend from horses abandoned by 16th century colonists. Her birth is especially important because the numbers of this mustang, North Carolina’s official State Horse, are dwindling. Indeed, the Bankers are at risk of extinction.
Luckily, Dove “… appears to be thriving,” the release reads, adding, “Her mother [Olivia] is in excellent condition, too. Dove is extra special to us because her grandfather is our dear Amadeo, who passed away in 2020.”
Helping the herd
As promising as this news sounds, the CWHF is careful to remind visitors to keep their distance from this latest addition to the endangered herd. “We know that foals are very exciting, but please remember they are also very fragile and need plenty of space,” the organization stresses. “It’s illegal to approach, harass or entice the horses, and you must stay 50 feet away from them at all times.
“We also ask that people not park and sit right on top of them, and do not circle around and around them. Definitely do not get out of your vehicle! Take your photo and move on. Crowding them stresses out the adults and it habituates the foals during a very critical time in their development. The adults can also be very territorial and protective, and by getting too close you are putting yourself in serious danger.
“Our herd count is less than 100 right now; we cannot afford to lose horses due to human-caused problems,” the release continues. “They face so many challenges to their survival that are beyond our control (remember, last year we lost two foals to natural causes), so please do not make things even more difficult by not following the rules and behaving disrespectfully … please help us keep these horses safe, treat their habitat with respect and care, and speak out when you see others not following the rules.”
See something? Say something!
If, while in the area, you witness someone bothering the horses or breaking the law, the CWHF asks that you immediately call the Currituck County sheriff’s department at (252) 453-3633. “A deputy will be dispatched, and they will also contact CWHF so that we can send our staff over, as well,” the release stated. “We can’t do anything about it if you call or message after the fact, so please don’t hesitate if you see something! Photos, video, and license plate numbers help, too.”
For more information, visit the Corolla Wild Horse Fund website.