NPS Completes Population Census of Assateague’s Wild Horse Herd
BERLIN, Md.- The National Park Service announced Tuesday it has completed its September 2018 population census of the wild horses on Assateague Island.
The total population of the Maryland herd is currently at 79 horses, including 21 stallions and 58 mares. The third foal of the year, colt N6BMT-FQ, was born in September to N6BMT-F “Jojo”.
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.
The NPS said that 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.
In addition to the census, the NPS has initiated a new genetic study that will develop updated, more detailed information describing the genetic status and condition of the horse herd in support of the long term fertility control program that was initiated in 1994.