The herd on the Maryland side of Assateague Island is still trying to recover from the darting program, which was shut off in 2016. The advocates point to it as a paragon of wild horse management.
The Park Service buried the census results for 2022, breaking a long tradition of transparency. What are they hiding?
On the Virginia side, the ponies are rounded up in July and pushed into the channel for the annual swim, seen in the following video.
The herd makes the return trip a few days later minus the youngsters, who were stripped away and sold at auction.
With the exception of a few “buy backs” who return with the adults, the breeding population doesn’t change.
If you visited the island today, you’d think it was subject to the Montana Solution.
As in other such cases, the volunteers don’t publish any reports showing the effects of their management strategy. There is no accountability to the public.