Why North Carolina Won’t Evacuate Its Beloved Wild Horses During the Hurricane

The state’s famous herd animals know how to take care of themselves.

John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis and more, subscribe to Mother Jones' newsletters.

This story was originally published by HuffPost. It appears here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

As Hurricane Florence approaches the North Carolina coastline, many people have wondered about the fate of the state’s beloved wild horses.

But the horses are savvier than many people realize, and should be able to take care of themselves.

“They’re smarter than us,” Meg Puckett, herd manager for the Corolla Wild Horses of the Currituck Outer Banks, told HuffPost.

On Monday, the Corolla Wild Horse Fund posted on Facebook that the horses, which number between 90 and 100, would be remaining on the barrier island when the storm hits.

Hurricane Florence is bearing down on coastal North Carolina and we know everyone is concerned about the horses, so here…

Posted by Corolla Wild Horse Fund on Monday, September 10, 2018

“They have really good instincts,” Puckett said. “These horses have lived in this area for 500 years. We can already see now, they’re starting to group together. They know where the high ground is. They know where to go.”

There are other groups of wild horses in the state as well, but Puckett said it’s extremely unlikely that anyone will try to round up and move them, either.

“They’re wild. They’re like deer,” she said. “It would be like herding deer up.”

A spokesperson for the Foundation for Shackleford Horses—a group dedicated to wild horses on North Carolina’s Shackleford Banks—told HuffPost those animals will also remain in place.

“They are wild, and they have survived on Shackleford Banks for generations,” the rep said in a Facebook message. “They seek refuge in the dense maritime forest.”

Puckett noted that people who work to protect the horses will still worry about how they’ll fare during Hurricane Florence—currently projected to hit the Carolinas as a Category 4 storm—but they believe the best plan is to let them stay where they are.

“We’re concerned, too,” she said. “We also have a lot of faith in their instincts.”

More MotherJones reporting on Climate Desk

Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.