Namib mustangs running out of fuel
If the wild horses of the Garub Plain are not relocated they face almost certain extinction, Not only has the population of about 110 horses become the target of roaming hyenas, their sustenance has been depleted to such a level that they now only survive on fodder.
A substantial donation of fodder which arrived at Garub earlier this month is helping the remaining animals to survive. The impact of predation and drought is best seen by the enormous distortion in the population profile. Only 41 of the remaining animals are mares, a vastly insufficient number for the 74 stallions. Aggravating the population’s future existence is the fact that not a single foal has survived over the past two years due to hyena predation.
“The Wild Horses of the Namib are threatened by extinction. Following five years without any substantial rainfall, they barely find pasture in their habitat near Aus, and their survival depends on additional feeding” said the horses’ custodian, the Namibia Wild Horse Foundation this week when it announced the arrival on another 800 bales of fodder.
The donation comes from Mr Josef Vitus Schubert, the Austrian Honorary Consul in Namibia. The fodder is expected to sustain the entire population for a number of weeks.
“Since additional feeding started 20 months ago, the condition of the horses fluctuated between moderate to poor. With the onset of rains in the beginning of 2017 better quality hay became available as well as Eragrostis teff which seems to be more palatable to the horses” according to the Wild Horse Foundation.
“One of their biggest threats is hyenas. Three months ago the Foundation, after consulting conservation officials of the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, started to provide the hyenas with additional food and managed to reduce predation of the horses significantly. This is however only a temporary relief” said the Foundation.
While finding a long-term solution is the immediate goal of the Wild Horse Foundation, the horses must still be fed in the interim. To cover these costs, the Foundation appealed to all conservationists to assist them with additional funding for more fodder.
“The situation remains critical. Further donations are welcome to ensure the long term survival of a core group of the Garub wild horses” they stated.