Herd Control Achieved - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Herd Control Achieved

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BERLIN, Md.- Just about 20 years into its horse control program, the National Park Service on the Maryland side of Assateague Island, is claiming victory.

The Assateague Island National Seashore has finally reached its goal of decreasing their herd of wild horses to 100...well actually 101 if you count their newborn foal.  

Kelly Taylor, science communicator at the National Park Service says, "This is an important milestone for us because the population for a very long time was extremely high and the more animals that we have, the more horses that we have specifically on the island, it's becomes a burden for the island to basically bear."

If there's too many horses in the area, they'll actually begin to break down the shore line which will change the entire ecology of the area.

Taylor explains, "They tend to compact soils, it prevents other grasses from growing." 

With limited resources, other animals can't live, so how exactly did they get this horse number size under control?

Taylor replies, "We did it completely with our birth control program, and the birth control that we are using is call PZP it works with the horse's immune system"

PZP is administered by way of something that looks like a syringe, but it's not.
It's a dart, shot at the horses from about 50 yards away.

Taylor continues, "It makes it impossible for the sperm to penetrate the egg."

Taylor says the birth control doesn't harm the horses hormones or affect them socially.  
The goal is to continue to keep the herd at a healthy size so the horses will be a part of the island for generations to come.

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