North Carolina's Wild Horses Survived Hurricane Florence

September 24, 2018

Nearly all of North Carolina's wild horse herds are safe and accounted for after Hurricane Florence, according to the organizations that oversee and care for them.

Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Corolla Wild Horse Fund and Rachel Carson Reserve have all confirmed on social media over the weekend that their equine populations have emerged from Hurricane Florence unscathed.

"So far it's been business as usual for them, out grazing in all the normal spots. The horses are back out at all their usual haunts," Corolla Wild Horse Fund herd manager Meg Puckett told The News & Observer.

Wildlife biologist Sue Stuska told the Associated Press that the horses are "highly sensitive to weather changes and instinctively know what to do in a storm."


"Naturally, they are meant to be outside and they have high ground and they have thick places to hide," Stuska said. "Don't worry about them. They've survived for hundreds of years, and we expect that they'll be just fine."

But there is one herd, the Shackleford herd, living on a barrier island hit hard by Florence and still inaccessible days after the storm passed, that is still unaccounted for. Staff are working hard to reach them.

About 30 horses have been spotted so far "and all appeared to be healthy and acting normally," Margaret Poindexter, chairwoman and president of the Foundation for Shackleford Horses told The News & Observer.

But a formal survey of the entire herd isn't possible yet. "There are 118 horses in the Shackleford herd," she said.

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