Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Rare Kaimanawa Horses Slaughtered

The Kaimanawa horse is a rare breed of horse that roams wild in New Zealand. Most people have never heard of this horse-- even the largest horse breed listing, OK State Breeds of Livestock Project , and the International Museum of the Horse, makes no mention of these rare horses. You can read the history of the Kaimanawa horses at the Kaimanawa Breed Society website. Feral horses have been roaming New Zealand since the 1870's. The horses are seen as a threat to native wildlife and plantlife, and are shot by helicopter, poisoned, or rounded up and sent to slaughterhouses if no homes are found.
A recent online news article stated that 31 would be sent to a slaughterhouse since no homes were found:

The Department of Conservation this week declined an application by the Wild
Horses of Aotearoa (Whoa) Trust to find homes for 31 of the 57 horses culled
from fragile tussock country near Waiouru. The Kaimanawa Wild Horse
Preservations Society found homes for 26 of the cull, and the remaining 31 were
destined for the abattoir. DoC Wanganui Conservator Bill Carlin said the
department’s Wild Horse Advisory Group received a proposal by Whoa in April to
take any unwanted horses...

Kaimanawa horses are hardy animals that have adapted to the harsh climate and are thought to be a mixture of Exmoor, "Comet", local domestic horses. In 1960 an Arabian stallion was turned loose. They resemble New Forest and Welsh breeds.

An excerpt from the Kaimanawa Breed Society website states:
To our knowledge there is no documented proof that this particular herd has
been introduced and have not evolved here on their own.
In 1981 the Kaimanawa wild horses were given a protected status under the "Wildlife Order (No.2)". From then numbers gradually increased. (since then the protected status has been lifted, KHBSI)
Now, it is unknown what the fate of the Kaimanawa wild horses will be. It is thought by some that after the round-up of 1200 horses that too few will be left in the wild to maintain the gene pool.

To read more about this rare breed and see photos, visit: http://www.kaimanawa.com/