Wild horse sanctuary for Sri Lanka’s Delft Island

A wild horse on Delft Island off Sri Lanka.
A wild horse on Delft Island off Sri Lanka. © Indi Samarajiva

A wild horse sanctuary is being considered for Delft Island in the Northern Province of Sri Lanka.

Discussions over a sanctuary on the island, a popular tourist destination, were announced by Sri Lanka Minister of Wildlife Conservation Vijith Vijayamuni Soysa following a meeting with the country’s Minister of Traditional Industries and Small Enterprises Development, Douglas Devananda.

The island is home to about 450 horses, who are believed to descend from horses kept on the island from the time of Delft’s Portuguese occupation.

The flat island is surrounded by shallow waters and beaches of coral chunks and sand. During the dry season water is provided for the horses by the Navy. The island’s area is 50 km² and it is roughly oval-shaped. Its length is 8km and its maximum width about 6km.

Delft’s Tamil name is Neduntivu. It was was named after the Dutch city of Delft by Rijckloff van Goens. He named the eight most important islands in Sri Lanka after Dutch cities, but the seven others now have domestic names.



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