News and Updates on the Shackleford Horses

Annual Findings Reports

Press releases are issued annually describing the state of the herd during the reported year. These brief reports typically include the number of horses in the herd, the number of new foals, mortality rates, and the number of horses removed from the island and available for adoption through the Foundation for Shackleford Horses, Inc.

These annual reports can be found on the park's Wildlife Management webpage.

Horse Grazing - thumb

View photos of the Shackleford herd in the Horses Photo Gallery and take a guided virtual tour of Shackleford Banks with the Wild Horses podcast.

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Selected Published Research

Journal of Equine Veterinary Science Cover

Journal of Equine Veterinary Science

Nutritional Quality of Forages Consumed by Feral Horses: The Horses of Shackleford Banks (2011, pdf, 1.12 MB)

How well do the horses on Shackleford Banks eat? This two year, preliminary study addresses that question by examining both the nutritional content of various plants found on the island and the composition of the horses' diet, as determined by fecal content.

Reprinted from Journal of Equine Veterinary Science; Vol 31 / No 11; Shannon E. Pratt-Phillips PhD, Sue Stuska EdD, Heather L. Beveridge BS, and Mike Yoder PhD; Nutritional Quality of Forages Consumed by Feral Horses: The Horses of Shackleford Banks, Pages 640-644, Copyright (2011); with permission from Elsevier.

applied animal behavior science journal cover
Applied Animal Behavior Science

Effects of Immunocontraception on Harem Fidelity (2010, pdf, 145 kb)

How does the use of the PZP immunocontraceptive (one of two population management strategies) affect the social behavior of mares? This two year study found a significant impact on the number of harems visited and the number of harem changes by a mare that is or has received this contraceptive.

Reprinted from Applied Animal Behaviour Science; Vol 128 / Is 1; Jessa M. Madosky, Daniel I. Rubenstein, Jerome J. Howard, and Sue Stuska; The effects of immunocontraception on harem fidelity in a feral horse (Equus caballus) population, Pages 50-56, Copyright (2010); with permission from Elsevier.

Informal Updates with Photos

#68, the Oldest Mare in the Shackleford Herd 03-2013
The graying on her face reveals the age of #68, the second horse in the herd to reach the milestone age of 30.

Cape Lookout National Seashore

March 28, 2013 (pdf, 226 kb)
Profile of a 30 year-old mare and her young colt.

September 25, 2012 (pdf, 437 kb)
A milestone is reached: first horse known to live to age 30.

October 26, 2011 (pdf, 281 kb)
The final unaccounted for horse is found alive over a month and a half after Hurricane Irene made landfall. Also, the sixth foal of the season was born on October 20th.

August 23, 2011 (pdf, 103 kb)
A surprise foal and what wild horses do during a storm.

February 3, 2011 (pdf, 162 kb)
Tracking lineages of the wild horses.

July 10, 2010 (pdf, 57 kb)
Nail removed from horse's hoof.

June 29, 2010 (pdf, 139 kb)
New filly and a portrait of a stallion.

December 1, 2009 (pdf, 162 kb)
A surprise filly, fights between long-time partnered Alpha and Beta stallions, and two yearlings brought off the island.

August 5, 2009 (pdf, 233 kb)
Memorializing four stallions.

January 22, 2009 (pdf, 291 kb)
Keeping warm in the winter.

August 22, 2008 (pdf, 91 kb)
Visitors discover a new foal.

July 28, 2008 (pdf, 197 kb)
Surviving storms, rains, and fights.

July 02, 2008 (pdf, 245 kb)
Sporadic rains alter drinking habits.


Last updated: October 20, 2023

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