Steven den Beste has an interesting post about feral horses. It’s particularly interesting to me right now, because I’m up in wild horse country.
He’s right. This isn’t an endangered species issue–it’s more of an emotional and cultural one. We’re read too many romantic stories about horses running free, unbound from bridle and fence. Wild horses are one of those “large charismatic animals” that get too much attention relative to smaller, less cute, but more endangered species.
And it’s a powerful emotion, too. I still vividly recall a time, over a decade ago, that I was driving in a remote valley on the California-Nevada border, population density .0001 per square mile, and I saw a small herd off in the distance. It was a stallion with three mares and a couple colts, running with the wind. They looked as though they belonged there.
But until I read Steven’s post, it hadn’t occured to me that they might have an inbreeding problem, and certainly, given the finite resource of the open sage, it would make more sense to use it for animals that are not raised by the millions domestically.