News Release

Assateague Island National Seashore Wild Horse Update – May 2019

Horses on Assateague Island

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News Release Date: May 29, 2019

Contact: Liz Davis, 410-629-6087

Berlin, MD - The National Park Service has completed its May 2019 population census of the wild horses on Assateague Island. The total population of the Maryland herd is currently at 76 horses, including 21 stallions and 55 mares. There was one birth documented during the census (chestnut filly N2BHS-AR), and one death as a result of a natural event. The 31-year-old sorrel mare N6BM sustained a broken hind leg during a fight with another horse. A visitor had observed the fight about 6 miles south on the OSV and reported the event, allowing the mare to be humanely euthanized without delay.


The National Park Service completes a full census of the horse population in Maryland six times per year, in February, March, May, July, September, and November. Managed as a wildlife population, the Assateague horses are free to roam over approximately 27 miles of the barrier island and can be difficult to find at times. During each census, horses are identified by their distinguishing characteristics, mapped and counted. Individual horses that are not observed during multiple census periods are presumed dead. The purpose of the census is to monitor the overall population dynamics of the horse herd in support of the long term fertility control program that was initiated in 1994.

Last updated: May 30, 2019

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Berlin, MD 21811


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