Assateague Island Horse Census Results Released
BERLIN, Md.- The National Park Service has completed its May 2018 population census of the wild horses on Assateague Island, it was announced Thursday. The total population of the Maryland herd is currently at 81 horses, including 21 stallions and 60 mares. One foal, a filly, was born the first week of April. Two horses have died since the last census, N2BM “Madeline Rose” and N9BFT-K “Dr. Jay”.
The NPS completes a full census of the horse population in Maryland six times per year, in February, March, May, July, September, and November.
Managed as a wildlife population, the Assateague horses are free to roam over approximately 27 miles of the barrier island and can be difficult to find at times. During each census, horses are identified by their distinguishing characteristics, mapped and counted.
Individual horses that are not observed during multiple census periods are presumed dead.
The purpose of the census is to monitor the overall population dynamics of the horse herd in support of the long term fertility control program that was initiated in 1994, according to the NPS.