The Corolla Wild Horse Fund and the entire Outer Banks community is grieving the loss of a yearling colt named Danny. The young wild horse died on Friday in what the Corolla Wild Horse Fund is calling a "horrific, devastating, completely preventable way." Danny choked on an apple—a food not part of his natural diet—and the only thing left is to ensure his death is not in vain.
The Corolla wild horses have been attracting people to the Outer Banks for years. Visitors flock to the beach for the sun and sand, but they also hope to get a glimpse of these magnificent wild horses. For the most part, humans and wild horses live peacefully apart. And that's how it should be. Problems arise, however, when humans decide to ignore the laws put in place to protect these beautiful animals.
Wildlife protection laws make it illegal to approach, touch, feed, or disturb the wild horses in any way. If you see one on the beach, it's your responsibility to keep your distance. If a group of horses is standing behind your car preventing you from leaving, your only choice is to wait until they move along. And arguably the most important rule to remember regarding the Corolla wild horses is that you should never, ever offer them food or leave food somewhere the horses could find it.
Those laws are put in place for an important reason. Corolla Wild Horse Fund said on Facebook,
"When we say that apples and carrots KILL wild horses, we are not kidding. We are not being overly dramatic. We are not using scare tactics. Apples and carrots KILL wild horses."
Unfortunately, it took Danny's death to prove this important point.
On Friday evening, the Corolla Wild Horse Fund received a call from someone who recognized signs that young Danny was in distress. Officials rushed to his side, saw that he was choking, and under the direction of a vet, gave the yearling a sedative to relax his esophagus. The sedative allowed the obstructing apple to pass, but that was the end of the good news.
Back at a rescue farm, a veterinary examination showed that Danny had most likely been choking on the apple for several days. The unfamiliar food had become lodged in his throat, most likely ruptured his esophagus, and caused an infection. It's also likely he suffered from a head injury due to thrashing around in pain for several days.
A veterinary team did everything they could to save Danny's life. They got him as stable as possible, but on Friday evening, the otherwise healthy and spirited yearling passed away.
Danny's death is an example of what happens when humans ignore the laws meant to protect the wild horses. Corolla Wild Horse Fund said,
"Danny was killed by humans who had no regard for the safety of the horses. No regard for the health of the horses. No regard for the laws put in place to protect the horses."
We can't do anything to right this wrong or bring back Danny. But what we can do is make sure it never happens again. It's devastating that it took the death of young horse to finally draw attention to this important issue. The laws surrounding the Corolla wild horses are there for a reason, and it's imperative that everyone respects them.
Never offer a horse food, no matter what it is. Always secure your food while you're at the beach or anywhere else where a wild horse might wander by.
As Corolla Wild Horse Fund said,
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"Don't let this happen again. We are begging you to please help us keep these horses safe. Please don't let Danny's death be in vain."
Featured image via Facebook/Corolla Wild Horse Fund