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Contact: Wouter Ketel, (252) 728-2250 Ext. 3005
Harkers Island, North Carolina. Federal legislation, passed in 1998, protects the horses within Cape LookoutNational Seashore and requires an annual report on the status of the herd. This report covers the spring 2006 to spring 2007 period. The horses are cooperatively managed by the National Park Service and the Foundation for Shackleford Horses, Inc., pursuant to the legislation and a Memorandum of Understanding signed in 1999.
There are 115 horses on Shackleford Banks. Nine foals were born in 2006. Two foals died of unknown causes; one at three days of age and the second at less than one month. Two foal deaths are within normal limits for wild horses and for Shackleford Banks. Two foals of 2006 were removed in March of 2007 and will go to adoptive homes. Two more 2006 youngsters are likely to be removed under veterinary sedation in the autumn of 2007 and will be available for public adoption through the Foundation.
Adult mortality was below average; no adults died in 2006. Mares are expected to live longer when they are given breaks from pregnancy by birth control.
Of the mares that foaled in 2006, two had been given birth control in the past but did not receive it in 2005 in order for them to potentially conceive and foal. The general goal of the birth control program is to allow mares from less well represented lines to foal. These youngsters can then carry on their family lines.
Porcine Zonae Pellucidae (PZP) is the birth control used on Shackleford Banks horses. This immunocontraceptive is authorized for use by the United States Food and Drug Administration and regulated by the Humane Society of the United States. Three mares foaled in 2006 after receiving PZP in 2005 (contraception was unsuccessful). PZP is generally considered to be 90% effective. Since its use began here in 2000, it has been 92% effective on Shackleford Banks.
Approximately seven foals are expected in 2007.
For further information, contact Dr. Sue Stuska, Wildlife Biologist – Horses, at Cape Lookout National Seashore, (252) 728-2250, ext. 3017, or Carolyn S. Mason, Chairman and President, Foundation for Shackleford Horses, Inc., (252) 728-6308.