In 2013, the Corolla Wild Horses Protection Act was introduced and passed by the 113th United States Congress. The bill was established to protect a breed of feral horses that reside on the islands of North Carolina's Outer Banks. However when Hurricane Irma hit this region of the state most recently, it was not Congress that protected these resourceful animals . . . it was their god-given instincts.
As the category 2 storm drilled down on the coast, Meg Puckett, the herd manager of the Corolla Wild Horse Fund, told CNN that the 100 or so Spanish Mustangs in the area were far better off staying put in their natural habitat than they would be if humans intervened - particularly those senators from our current congress.
"We do everything that we can to protect them,” Puckett said of the horses, “but in situations like this, these horses have incredible instincts. They're so resourceful, and they have an incredibly strong will to live." Their instincts, too, have been honed over centuries.
Which way did they go?
"We're already seeing them group up together,” Puckett said of the horses preparations ahead of the storm. In order to protect themselves, she said, “they go into the maritime forest, where they get under the cover of the live oak trees that protect them and go to the highest ground.”
Better than humans
Many of us get unnerved with each passing weather report pertaining to a hurricane's approach. Some of us evacuate with very little data as to the severity of the storm. But for those in NC who are uncertain in the future, our advice would be to turn off the TV and simply keep an keen eye on the Corollas Horses.
Horses don't share all of humanity's issues when it comes to exposure to inclement weather. They've evolved to Mother Nature's fickleness over 100s of years. They're incredibly tough and built to withstand the most severe weather.
"It’s amazing what they can use for shelter," says Sue McDonnell, head of the Equine Behavior Program at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. "If there are no trees, they’ll use landscape to their advantage to break the wind and driving rain."
Additionally these horses relied on teamwork. Each adult male hung out their mature females. And even if those stallions who were not quite a stud. They found a bachelor herd to join. Whatever group they team up with, these resourceful horses instinctively hoofed it to higher ground, then huddled — with all the colts and fillies between them — and with their backs to the wind. Hotel Irma couldn't displace them, nor could the 100s of other hurricanes that tried to in the past.
Primary Source: The Weather Channel