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September 17, 2018

The instincts of one species of wild animals allowed it to survive Hurricane Florence

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North Carolina's wild horses miraculously survived the hurricane unharmed.

The Outer Banks is a series of barrier islands that jut out off the coast of North Carolina.

Among them are Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands, both home to herds of wild horses. As Hurricane Florence threatened the barrier islands, the guardians of the wild horse populations realized that their charges were in deadly danger.

With the resources of the State concentrated on evacuating the endangered area, little remained for the wild horses.

On September 15, 2018, the Cape Hatteras National Seashore organization posted an update on the horses' wellbeing on their Twitter account.

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CALL TO SAVE THE WILD HORSES FROM THE HURRICANE

"As we wait for Florence and complete all preparations, we would also like for our followers to be aware of an important update for the wild horses and burros out west."

Corolla Wild Horse Fund, USA Today, September 17, 2018.

The Corolla Wild Horse Fund asked wild horse lovers who were able, to help place the animals in safety.

Fortunately, as the hurricane abated, news started coming through that the horses had come through the danger safely.

Cape Hatteras National Seashore posted a statement on September 15, 2018, declaring that all of the horses in another herd on Ocracoke Island were safe.

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THE TERRIBLE STORM THREATENED SURVIVAL OF THE WILD HORSES

As the hurricane struck the barrier islands, it was feared that the herds of Spanish Mustangs would be decimated and they would become extinct.

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THE HORSES SURVIVED UNSCATHED

Fortunately, the herds survived the hurricane's fury unscathed, and even their pens were undamaged.

This was an incredible outcome, as Florence brought record floods to North and South Carolina, and 11 deaths have already been reported.

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SAFE AND SOUND AND ENJOYING THEIR FREEDOM

The Corella Wild Horse Fund posted several pictures on September 16 showing the horses browsing on a field captioned: "Enjoying an overcast breeze and some green grass."

The National Park Service announced that the park would reopen to visitors on September 16, but the Cape Lookout National Seashore confessed they had not been able to return to the park to check on their Shackleford herd.

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THE WILD HORSES HAVE BEEN ROAMING THE ISLANDS FOR 400 YEARS

The wild horses of North Carolina's Outer Banks are descended from Colonial Spanish Mustangs - the original Iberian horse stock brought from Spain to the Americas by the Conquistadors.

The Spanish Mustangs once roamed freely on all the islands for almost 400 years. In the 1900s the area became a popular holiday destination and the mustang's free range was reduced drastically.

The National Park Service created havens for the wild mustangs, and there are now only three herds of these wild horses on their original ranges, with herds later placed on Ocracoke and Shackleford Islands. 

In a related story, a woman struggled for 3 hours to save her horse from sinking into the mud and drowning.

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