No Growth for Assateague Herd in Latest Census

The Park Service announced in an undated report that there were 75 wild horses on the Maryland side of the island last month, down from 76 a year ago.

The Assateague Island Alliance reported 78 animals in February.

The safe, proven and reversible darting program was shut off in 2016, and in the seven years since, the herd should have doubled in size, at least.

But the curve has been flat for the last five years, and slightly off aim.

Assatuegue Population Trend 04-04-23

The report did not indicate how many of the mares were sterile.

It did indicate an abnormal sex ratio, another byproduct of the Montana Solution, with mares outnumbering stallions 1.7 to 1.

The birth rate was 7.9%, barely enough to keep up with the death rate.

No new foals have hit the ground in 2023.

Like the advocates for the Currituck herd, park staff are pleading with visitors to keep their distance and protect expectant mares from undue stress, hopefully resulting in live births, a last-ditch effort to save the herds they ruined with a restricted-use pesticide.

RELATED: AIA Going Dark on Assateague Pony Census?

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