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Kaimanawa horse muster in 2011 unlikely

December 2, 2010

A muster of Kaimanawa wild horses from the central North Island volcanic plateau is unlikely next year, the Kaimanawa Wild Horse Welfare Trust says.

Wild horses at an earlier Kaimanawa muster. © Waikato Times/Kaimanawa Wild Horse Welfare Trust
"The successful muster and removal of 156 wild horses during the 2010 muster completed the two-year programme to reduce the size of the managed herd at Waiouru to 300," the trust said in its latest newsletter.

The herd reduction was agreed after discussions around the ongoing costs of musters to the Department of Conservation, the stresses and costs involved in rehoming the animals, and the numbers unsuitable for rehoming that go to slaughter.

The Kaimanawa Wild Horse Advisory Group generally agreed that cutting the herd size to 300 would reduce the impact of all such factors and allow the maintenance of genetic variation.

The smaller herd size was also seen as a way to reduce the herd's environmental impact.

This year's muster achieved the goal of a 300-strong herd, in the second year of a reduction programme.

The trust said the advisory group would discuss the outcome of this year's muster, but at this stage the Conservation Department considered a 2011 muster would not be necessary.

A count of the herd will be undertaken in March and April. The results of the count will be discussed at the advisory group's April meeting.



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