North Carolina Outer Banks Wild Horses Face A New Threat Caused By Tourists

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Wild horse are magnificent animals, and the chance to see them in their natural habitat is a treat. However, some tourist in North Carolina are not abiding by the rules, and it is causing harm to the wild horses.

The renowned North Carolina Outer Banks are known for their quaint towns, ocean views, but most importantly their herd of wild Colonial Spanish Mustangs that roam the land. Tourist from all over come to catch a glimpse of the wild horses. Unfortunately, the wild horses face a new threat to survival caused by tourist trying to feed them treats.

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The diet of a wild horse consists of marsh grasses and other vegetation in their habitat. The horses have adjusted to people and fast moving vehicles. However, they can only eat what occurs naturally in their habitat. Offering an apple or carrot can be deadly to a wild horse. A horse has a sensitive digestive system and new foods need to be introduced slowly and consistently. If this is not done, a horse can colic – painful stomach ache – and die.

When Corolla Wild Horse Fund, official “Protectors of the Wild Horses”, discovered tourists were offering these dangerous foods, they designed a new campaign. The new campaign “No Feed, No Approach” will educate tourist and locals alike about the dangers of human interaction with the wild herd.


All the horses are wild and approaching one can be very dangerous. The current law states it is illegal to intentionally come within 50 feet of wild horses. So that would mean that petting and feeding are not allowed. It is common to see the wild herd on the beach in the summer. The horses are looking for reprieve from the bugs and hot temperatures. If a horse approaches a tourist, they are to move 50 feet away from the horses.


“The Wild Horse Ordinance of Currituck County says, among other things, that feeding the wild horses or getting within 50 feet of them is punishable by law. Cruelty, enticing, harboring, luring, seizing, and failure to report injury are unlawful,” posts Corolla Wild Horse Fund on their website.


A billboard was created that reads, “Admire But Don’t Feed! Apples and Carrots Kill Wild Horses.” In combination with the billboard, public service announcements will air on the local radio. Other local businesses are reminding the tourist to give the wild horses space. Just like your mother used to tell you, “Look but do not touch.”

Corolla Wild Horse Fund posted, “We invite any and all locals, community and business organizations, restaurants and merchants to join us in spreading this educational initiative. The community support has been overwhelming and heartwarming, and we believe through stepped up efforts to educate the public, tourists and wild horses will have a safer summer season.”

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Andrea Powell is an animal enthusiast who lives in West Michigan. Her horse and 3 dogs are her children. She loves to write and share her knowledge of equine and canine nutrition. In her spare time she likes to volunteer with animal rescues, camp with her husband and dogs, and trail ride with her horse.
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