North Carolina

Outer Banks wild horse put down after getting tangled in barbed wire, NC group says

Outer Banks wild horse safety video focuses on preventing deaths

The Corolla Wild Horse Fund created a safety video to prevent deaths of wild horses, which are being being run over by vehicles on Outer Banks beaches.
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The Corolla Wild Horse Fund created a safety video to prevent deaths of wild horses, which are being being run over by vehicles on Outer Banks beaches.

“Rest free, Joaquin.”

That was the message the Corolla Wild Horse Fund shared on Facebook after reporting a young stallion had to be put down after getting injured on an Outer Banks beach last week.

“We are devastated to announce the death of Joaquin,” the group said in the post.

On Thursday, the 4-year-old wild horse was spotted tangled in a barbed wire fence he tried to run through, according to the post.

After consulting with a veterinarian, it was decided “his leg was beyond repair and the most humane course of action would be euthanasia,” the group said.

Joaquin was known in the Swan Beach area described as “a lovely young Banker with a bright future as a harem stallion,” according to the group.

More than 200 wild horses roam the barrier islands off North Carolina, the News & Observer reported. The herds are both a tourist attraction and a threat to visitors and the horses.

Joaquin’s death is a worst-case scenario for the Corolla Wild Horse Fund, which said it has had concerns about horses getting hurt in the barbed wire fences installed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, or USFWS.

While saying the USFWS has been “sympathetic and responsive” in the wake of the stallion’s death, the wild horse group is looking for a better solution to both organizations’ concerns.

Discussions are planned to find another option to contain the horses without endangering them, according to the post.

It’s been a tragic summer for the Corolla herd.

In late June, a member of the herd named Cali had to be euthanized after X-rays showed the horse’s shoulder was broken and dislocated during a fight with another horse, the Charlotte Observer reported.

Then, in the first week of July, a horse named Junior was struck by a vehicle on the beach. The horse survived, largely because the driver of the vehicle was going less than 10 mph, the Corolla Wild Horse Fund said.

Most recently on July 13, a mare that was killed had been found tangled up in stabilizing wire attached to a power pole, according to the Charlotte Observer. Since then the power company put a guard on the wire to try and prevent a repeat of the tragic death, the newspaper reported.

All of those incidents did nothing to lessen the impact of the most recent death of a wild horse.

“His loss is a major blow to the herd and will have an impact for generations to come. And we will certainly miss seeing him regularly,” the post said.

The Corolla Wild Horse Fund maintains the Corolla Wild Horses. Here's a closer look at their efforts to rehabilitate injured and sick horses off the beach.

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Noah Feit is a Real Time reporter with The State and McClatchy Carolinas Regional Team. The award-winning journalist has worked for multiple newspapers since starting his career in 1999.