The herd of wild horses that call Assateague Island home welcomed a new member to the family. The National Parks Service made the exciting birth announcement on May 15th, and the adorable foal has already been seen by several lucky visitors at the national park. The chestnut filly (yet to be named) is seen healthy and happy as she learns about her new beach-side world with mom by her side.
N2BHS-AR, as the foal is currently being called, was born to a mare named “Gokey GoGo Bones.” Park rangers and visitors have tracked the mare throughout her pregnancy and were ecstatic when they discovered she had a successful, healthy birth. Officials typically use fecal tests to determine which mares are pregnant, but it’s not always accurate. With less than five foals being born to the herd each year, each birth is especially precious.
In order to maintain the herd’s health, officials monitor the Assateague Island wild horse population. The horses are allowed to live mostly apart from humans, but a number of mares are given a contraceptive in the form of a dart that is shot from 25 to 50 meters away to ensure the population doesn’t grow too fast. Too many horses would deplete their food source and damage the habitat. The ideal number of horses is between 80 and 100, and right now, the herd is thriving.
While the news of a new foal is always exciting, the National Park Service reminds visitors that while the horses live comfortably around people in the developed area, they are still wild and deserve respect and space. People are told to stay at least 40 feet (or the length of a bus) away from all horses including the new mother and her foal. Mares can become extremely protective of their new foals, and it’s essential for the pair’s well-being for them to be left alone.
Featured image via National Parks Service