The Kaimanawa/Waiouru area is well-known for the wild horses that roam freely. The problem is that when the herds become too large, they begin to wreak havoc on the Moawhango Ecological System in the area.
Musters are required in order to maintain the size of the wild horse herds at a sustainable, and manageable level. Maintaining the herd size at a steady 300 ensures that the horses are healthy and that the ecological system remains intact. The area is home to a number of rare plant species that must also be taken into consideration.
Two In One Year
This year saw the action of two musters in the area. One carried out in April, and another in June. A total of 306 horses were captured. This was a hugely successful initiative and reduced the wild horse herd numbers considerably. This kind of muster is carried out every second year in a bid to maintain the herds.
New Homes For Many
A majority of these horses have found new homes, however, there were seven who could not be successfully placed. These horses were not in a good condition health-wise and were immediately euthanised by the vet on site. It is the job of Kaimanawa Wild Horse Preservation Society to find homes for the horses captured during any muster, and to date, they have coped well with the influx. It is this group, alongside the New Zealand Defense Force, Ngati Rangi, and the RSPCA that advise the department on how best to manage the wild horse situation.
Wild horses are a magnificent sight to behold for anyone that visits the area, however, once out of control they can cause severe damage to themselves, each other, and the environment around them. Reducing the numbers to a manageable quantity ensure that they are all in good health, with enough to eat, while still preserving the ecological system.