Persistent drought continues to threaten wild horses - News - Gondwana Collection


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Persistent drought continues to threaten wild horses

Avatar of inke inke - 25. avril 2016 - Gondwana Collection

Supplementary feeding for the wild horses.

The Namibia Wild Horses Foundation would like to express their gratitude for all the generous contributions for the wild horses during the past six months. This has provided supplementary feed – a quarter to a third of the horses’ nutritional requirements – in the form of grass/lucerne and a protein lick, and will sustain the population until the beginning of June when the next phase will need to be implemented to ensure their survival. The Foundation is appealing for funds or good quality grass for this more severe period and urges the public to continue with their support for the wild horses to see them through the winter.

As the drought experienced in Namibia has severely affected the central and southern parts of the country, there is little grass left in the horses’ range. Fences in the south and east restrict them from moving further inland to areas that received scattered rainfall. The Foundation and friends of the wild horses’ hopes for late summer rain have unfortunately not been realised, leaving the desert barren at the beginning of winter. It will therefore become necessary to increase the feed to provide half to three quarters of their nutritional requirements. As much of Namibia is dry, grass and lucerne will most likely have to be bought from South Africa, which is a costly affair.

The wild horses have lived in the Namib Desert for over a century. Originating from the well-bred stock from the Kubub stud farm and the horses abandoned at the Garub base by the Union soldiers in 1915, the population has wavered between 50 to 300 horses over the hundred years of their existence. The desert extremes have honed their genes, creating a hardy resilient breed that has adapted its behaviour to survive in its desert environment. The horses live harmoniously in fluid and fluctuating family groups, building bonds with other members that last a lifetime. Over the years they have become one of the main attractions in southern Namibia and thousands of tourists visit the Garub waterhole near Aus annually to witness the horses galloping to the water across the Garub plains. They continue to be a source of inspiration for all and have come to represent the Namibian attributes with their wild, rugged beauty.

A non-profit organisation, Namibia Wild Horses Foundation was established in 2012 to monitor the well-being of the horses and to marshal funding to provide feed for the horses should the need arise in the drier cycles common to the arid country. It works closely with the Ministry of Environment and Tourism and comprises members from the tourism, veterinary and environmental-management and research sectors. The horses have been studied extensively over the last twenty years by Dr Telané Greyling, who adds her expertise to the foundation. 

According to Dr Greyling, it is necessary to maintain a population of at least 50 mares and 50 stallions to preserve the genetic integrity of the Namib horses. The population is presently around 160 horses, having lost more than 100 horses – mainly the young and old – since the beginning of the drought. Spotted Hyenas have played a part in the mortalities as the horses are easy prey in their weakened state. Not a single foal has survived in the last three years. The Foundation fears that without rain there will be virtually no grass left by the onset of winter and as the horses’ condition further deteriorates numbers will begin to drop dramatically. 

All donations, large and small, are welcome and will be gladly received to see the horses to the next season which will hopefully bring with it the blessings of rain.

Namibia Wild Horses Foundation
First National Bank of Namibia
Current Account 62246659489
Branch: Klein Windhoek (code 281479)

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