Corolla Horse Study

A study set to begin early next year could resolve debate over the effect of Corolla's wild horses on North Carolina's maritime forests, marshland and wet meadows.

The Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk reported that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service plans to work with North Carolina State University on the study.

Currituck National Wildlife Refuge manager Mike Hoff says the approximately 100 wild horses graze on grasses also used by waterfowl for food and shelter. Hoff says migratory bird habitat is the primary mission for the more than 4,500-acre refuge.

He says during the two-year study, horses, feral hogs or deer will be blocked from some areas to see the effect of each species on habitat.

The horses are a popular tourist attraction along the Outer Banks.


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  • by Truth Location: OBX on Sep 22, 2009 at 01:50 PM
    The horses have been on these islands for hundreds of years. If they was gonna damage the maritime forest and meadow they would have already done it. If the forest and wet lands was damaged that much then the horses would not exist due to starvation. Man has damaged the islands way more than any horse could or ever will. Also there is a lot of feral hogs up there which will and do more damage than than the horses. So i do hope this is included in the study.
  • by william Location: rocky mount on Sep 21, 2009 at 10:18 PM
    Ashley, after years of thinking about it, I'm not so sure I believe the horses were originally brought from overseas. The ships used many years ago were quite small and a lot of provisions would be needed to bring large animals on a trip of several weeks. That's just some food for thought.
  • by Cactus Location: Strabane on Sep 21, 2009 at 05:01 PM
    Any time a non-native animal or plant is introduced the native wild life pays the price. Kudzu was introduced as ground cover(?) here in the US, Burmese pythons are infiltrating the Ever Glades. thanks to humans(with no predator), rabbits and camels in Australia, walking catfish in the US, gray squirrel in England so based on these facts the horses, hogs, and deer should be removed from the area. Sorry but this is the only way to return the area to its native form. The hogs should be removed NOW, they are nothing but bulldozers on legs.
  • by Chesney Location: Corolla on Sep 21, 2009 at 02:22 PM
    Find away to keep the birds and Wild Horses there at the Northern beachs of Corolla. I just saw three horses last week on the shore line and they were amazzing...Leave the horses alone!!!
  • by Ashley Location: Raleigh on Sep 21, 2009 at 01:28 PM
    @OSOC: The US Fish and Wildlife service is a branch of the Federal Government, not NC Government. North Carolina state taxes do not fund this study. So it can't be one of Governor Perdue's "Pet Projects" @KK, william and frank: The horses are on these islands due to human intervention. They are not native species in the area. They are an introduced species. If we humans always "let nature take its course" they wouldn't be there at all. Since we can't go back in time, removing the horses, wild boars and other introduced animals would be reverting the island to its natural state. Introduced species are almost always "detrimental to the environment", removal isn't always an option. In this case, it may not be an appropriate option. I look forward to seeing the results of the study. It would be nice to see what types of native birds and plants the islands would have if the non-natives were removed.
  • by Obama Snake Oil Co Location: Washington on Sep 21, 2009 at 12:48 PM
    Bev, is this one of your pet projects teachers had to take pay cuts over? Is this one of those projects that is the determining factor why our sales tax went up. I smell pork a cookin....
  • by Bob Location: Belhaven on Sep 21, 2009 at 12:28 PM
    How stupid is this? Another waste of tax payers money. The birds can probably fly somewhere during their migration to eat! I don't think the horses can fly or migrate very far! duh! So Stupid! How did all this work so well befor man's (including PETA) intervention! Don't get me wrong I AM an animal lover!
  • by kk on Sep 21, 2009 at 11:44 AM
    I dont understand why they cannot just let nature take its course....
  • by Kimo Location: Belhaven on Sep 21, 2009 at 11:39 AM
    The only thing we can ba absolutely sure of is that the final report will recommend more study.
  • by william Location: rocky mount on Sep 21, 2009 at 08:16 AM
    I'm pretty sure this will lead to opening up more land for development. I bet the results come back that the horses are detrimental to the environment and should be relocated. When will we learn that human intervention is the only problem in this or any other area.
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