When a hurricane is forecasted to hit, residents often board up their homes and businesses and evacuate to higher ground. As Hurricane Dorian threatened the North Carolina coast, officials issued mandatory evacuation orders.
While residents fled the coastal areas, there was one group that stayed behind to face the storm – the wild horses that call the Outer Banks home.
“They have an institutional knowledge of where it’s high, dry and safe,” Meg Puckett, herd manager for the Corolla Wild Horse Fund, told OBXToday.com. “It’s one of the few times we see a lot of the different harems come together.”
The Corolla Wild Horse Fund protects the herd of Spanish Mustangs that live on the northern Outer Banks. There are roughly 100 horses that have ID tags braided into their manes that roam 7,544 acres that are shared with residents, tourists, and vehicles.
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Those whose job it is to preserve the wild animals are confident the horses are capable of surviving a hurricane – they’ve been doing it for 500 years.
While those that roam free typically ride out storms gathered together under live oak trees with their “butts to the wind,” the 15 horses that live on the fund’s rescue farm also weather the storm together. Puckett and a number of volunteers stay behind as well to keep watch over the wild herd.
Before the storm extra supplies – first aid kits, halters, grain, hay, and water – are collected in case they are needed during or after the hurricane.
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“We do everything that we can to protect them, but in situations like this, these horses have incredible instincts,” Puckett told CNN in 2018 when Hurricane Florence hit the area. “They’re so resourceful, and they have an incredibly strong will to live.”
“These horses have been here centuries. They are probably better equipped to handle this kind of weather than anybody else on the Outer Banks right now.”
I know they’ve lived through countless storms before, but it still makes me nervous for them.
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