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Steer clear of wild horse foals

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Do not disturb. That’s what Help Alberta Wildies Society, a provincial wild horse advocacy and watchdog organization, is asking the public about new spring foals in the wild over the next few months.

“Wild horses throughout the province start foaling in April and it’s not uncommon for outdoor and recreational users on Crown Land to see them while out enjoying a day in the backcountry,” said, the organization’s president Darrell Glover.

“Newborn and young foals are particularly vulnerable during this time as they can easily become separated from their mothers and their natal bands if disturbed, making them prime targets for starvation or predation.”

According to Glover, many times when a wild horse band or mare is spotted, a young foal may be resting and lying in the bushes nearby.

Getting too close or travelling too fast through the area may cause the band to flee, leaving any young foals behind.

“Alberta’s wild horses are a precious natural resource and attract scores of visitors and photographers from around the world who want to see them roaming wild and free in the backcountry, especially in the spring when foals begin to arrive,” said Glover.

“We just ask that when doing so, people are respectful and cautious. Give the horses some space; don’t scare them or give them a reason to flee.”

Glover says the wild horse foaling season is critical to the sustainability of the species that is unique to Alberta according to DNA analysis and unlike any other horses in the world.

“Predation in the backcountry especially in the Sundre Equine Management Zone ( is particularly high,” he said.

“We estimate only 10 per cent of the foals born annually survive, so it’s critical as many foals as possible make it to adulthood.”