Bill pushes to increase Corolla wild horse herd size

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COROLLA, N.C. -- A bill that would allow the size of the Corolla wild horse herd to increase passed in the United States House of Representatives Monday, according to WTKR.

The Corolla Wild Horses Protection Act would require the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, North Carolina, Currituck County and the Corolla Wild Horse Fund to craft a new management plan for the horses.

The current management plan caps the number of horses allowed in the heard at 60, a number that Corolla Wild Horses Fund Executive Director Karen McCalpin says is too low to maintain genetic diversity.

“60 is not a genetically supportable number for a wild herd,” McCalpin told WTKR. “Our herd has one of the lowest levels of genetic diversity anywhere and they are literally teetering on the brink of extinction.”

McCalpin says the impacts from low genetic diversity are already manifesting themselves in the herd.

“Bad genes are passed down with the good genes and when you get a very small herd you start to see the bad things more often,” McCalpin said. “We have a foal right now with parrot mouth – if you think of how a parrot looks, it makes the horse have a great difficulty eating.”

The same bill passed in the House of Representatives in 2012, but no action was taken on it on the Senate side.

“Now another year has passed and with each year that passes we get closer and closer to genetic collapse,” McCalpin stated.

Read more at WTKR