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1 January 2008 Management of Feral Horses at the North Carolina National Estuarine Research Reserve
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Abstract

Feral horse (Equus caballus L.) populations are found on properties managed by governmental agencies in western states, the Missouri Ozarks, and on several Atlantic coast barrier and estuarine islands. These animals are descendants of free-roaming horses introduced decades to centuries earlier. Public sentiment has influenced development of policies that have allowed the herds to remain. The North Carolina National Estuarine Research Reserve is a state program with federal support and oversight that manages four properties; two (Rachel Carson in Beaufort, NC, and Currituck Banks near Corolla, NC) include feral horse populations. Current reserve policies include maintenance of these herds; however, impacts on salt marshes and other ecosystems represent a conflict with federal regulations. Among the Atlantic Coast herds, conditions at the Rachel Carson site are least accommodating for the animals. With a combination of pertinent research results plus 20 years of site-specific management experience as a basis, I argue that feral horses of the Rachel Carson site should be removed for programmatic, ecologic, and humane reasons. To maintain estuarine reserve character, the Currituck Banks site should be protected from roaming horse impacts by creation of one or more delimited pastures outside reserve property.

John B. Taggart "Management of Feral Horses at the North Carolina National Estuarine Research Reserve," Natural Areas Journal 28(2), 187-195, (1 January 2008). https://doi.org/10.3375/0885-8608(2008)28[187:MOFHAT]2.0.CO;2
Published: 1 January 2008
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